Juventus, Paris St Germain bag Champions League road wins | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 12.02.2013
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Juventus, Paris St Germain bag Champions League road wins

Traveling sides fared well in the opening night of the Champions League round of 16. Juventus snagged a somewhat flattering 3-0 score-line against Celtic, while Paris St Germain won 2-1 in Valencia.

Early goals against hostile fans helped both Juventus and Paris St Germain to victory on Tuesday evening.

The Italian champions opened the scoring in Glasgow after less than three minutes of play - despite a bright start from a Celtic side playing with a "twelfth man," or rather 60,000 of them.

Andrea Pirlo (l) and Scott Brown of Celtic exchange words during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Midfield generals Andrea Pirlo and Scott Brown had a robust night of competition

A long, looping ball over the top - Juventus' first meaningful attack - caught Celtic defender Efe Ambrose cold. Alessandro Matri was on hand once the ball floated over a floundering Ambrose and put the ball through keeper Fraser Forster's legs. The ball was cleared off the line but midfielder Claudio Marchisio blasted it straight back into the net. Replays showed that Matri's original effort crossed the line, though, and the striker was eventually awarded the goal.

Group E winners Juventus aren't famed for adventurous, attacking football, and they didn't treat Scottish fans to such a display on Tuesday. Underdogs Celtic dominated much of the game as they sought an equalizer, taking more shots, winning more corners and keeping more of the ball.

Counterpunches against tired hosts

Juventus held firm at the back, though, and jabbed two blades into Glaswegian hearts in the last quarter of an hour.

Marchisio and Matri again combined after 77 minutes, with Matri playing a delicious first time pass to Marchisio on the inside-left channel. The Juve number 8 checked up to shake his marker and then finished coolly with his right instep.

Man-of-the-match Marchisio grabbed his second assist of the night around five minutes later. After a mix-up in the Celtic half, Marchisio was on hand to feed Montenegro international forward Mirko Vucinic for a third unanswered Juventus goal.

Paris Saint Germain's Javier Pastore celebrates after scoring a goal against Valencia during their Champions League soccer match at Mestalla stadium in Valencia February 12, 2013.(Photo: REUTERS/Heino Kalis)

Javier Pastore made the first and scored the second

The Scottish side, who are running away with the domestic league title in the absence of bankrupt Glasgow rivals Rangers, now need a miracle in Turin on March 6 to stay in continental competition.

Quality of possession in Spain

Compared to Juventus, Paris St. Germain needed an eon to open the scoring - 10 minutes - in Valencia.

The Argentine attacking double act of Javier Pastore and scorer Ezequiel Ivan Lavezzi linked up to open the scoring for the Qatari-owned Parisian super-team.

The match pitted Nouveau Riches against the all-but broke, with Valencia in major financial trouble after years of trying to keep pace with Spanish behemoths Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Though the hosts dominated possession throughout, PSG looked more incisive when on the ball, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and new signing Lucas Moura complementing the diminutive Argentines.

Lucas arrived in Paris for around 40 million euros ($53.8 million) in January; and has made a lightning start in Ligue 1 with four assists in his first five French league games.

Paris Saint-Germain's Ezequiel Lavezzi, from Argentina, right, celebrates with teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Sweden, center, after he scored against Valencia during a Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (Photo: AP Photo/ Fernando Hernandez)

Controversy-courter Ibrahimovic saw red late on

The 20-year-old Brazilian added another assist to his tally on his Champions League debut, setting up Pastore with a low cross from the right wing shortly before half time.

Valencia maintain scoring streak

Lucas' second half replacement Clement Chantome also put the ball in the net in the second half, though the goal was disallowed for offside.

Valencia enjoyed 65 percent of possession in the game, and had scored at least once in every Champions League game of the season. Moments before the regulation 90 minutes were up, the Spanish side salvaged this record, and perhaps a glimmer of hope for the return leg in Paris.

Tino Costa swung in an excellent free kick with his left foot, with Adil Rami getting in behind the Parisian defense to volley home a goal with the outside of his boot.

In a further blow to PSG, star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given a straight red in the closing seconds for about four fouls rolled into one. After a string of small kicks that ultimately felled one Valencia player, the ball bounced towards Roberto Soldado. Ibrahimovic followed in, leading with his studs, and struck Soldado's ankle. The tackle clearly merited at least a yellow card, though PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti was furious to see his forward dismissed and therefore suspended from the return leg.

In Wednesday's Champions League fixtures, German champions Borussia Dortmund travel to Ukraine to take on Shakhtar Donetsk. German internationals Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil, meanwhile, might take to the pitch for Real Madrid against Manchester United at the Bernabeu.