The Bianconeri's 2-0 win over Celtic sent them into the last eight of the Champions League and continued a streak which is edging them ever closer to the record booksBy Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer
It was a case of mission accomplished for Juventus as they avoided an embarrassing turnaround against Celtic in the Champions League round of 16, backing up their 3-0 first-leg victory with a 2-0 win in Turin on Wednesday night.
|BEST UNBEATEN RUNS IN EUROPE|
Del Neri’s one and only season in charge in Turin began as early as July 29, with the Old Lady’s seventh-place Serie A finish in 2010-11 forcing them to begin their Europa League campaign in the third qualifying round. Two-leg victories over Shamrock Rovers and Sturm Graz saw them claim a place in the competition proper with something to spare, but they would go on to chalk up a run of six straight draws which would prove insufficient to progress to the knock-out stage.
|18 NOT OUT | Juve's unbeaten streak
|EUROPA LEAGUE 2010-11
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2012-13
Home-and-away clashes with Lech Poznan, Manchester City and Red Bull Salzburg saw the Old Lady earn only six points, with the matches against Poznan of particular note. Juve had to battle back from 2-0 down in the home fixture on Matchday 1, but after Giorgio Chiellini had struck twice and Alessandro Del Piero put Juve ahead, Artjoms Rudnevs hit a 92nd-minute leveller to complete an impressive hat-trick. The trip to Poland in December then caused a stir as the game took place in temperatures pushing minus 20 degrees, with Vincenzo Iaquinta grabbing a late equaliser.
|CURRENT RUNS OF CL SURVIVORS
After a season out of Europe last term, the Old Lady continued their strange fascination with drawn games in the early part of their Champions League run this term. They shared the points with Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and, shockingly, Danish minnows Nordsjaelland, leaving them on the verge of elimination. However, a 4-0 victory over the group outsiders was followed by a storming 3-0 win at home to Chelsea, and the comeback was completed with a 1-0 triumph in Ukraine in December.
And with their two-legged success over Celtic, the Bianconeri are now on a run of five straight wins, taking their total to nine victories and nine draws in their past 18 European fixtures. It puts them among an elite group to have recorded such a streak in the history of European club competition, although they still have seven games to go to match the record of Manchester United. The Red Devils were unbeaten right through their triumphant 2007-08 Champions League campaign and then didn't suffer a loss until the final of the following year, going down 2-0 to Barcelona at the Olimpico in Rome.
Interestingly, this is not Juventus’ longest unbeaten run in Europe, with their Fairs Cup run of the early seventies stretching to 20 matches. Despite that excellent record, the Bianconeri didn’t actually pick up any silverware during that spell, with an away goals loss to Leeds United in the 1971 final denying them glory.
Club history could be rewritten before this season is out, and while Conte will ensure that his side are focused on the task at hand, if the quarter-final draw is favourable to Juve, then they could well be chasing twin goals in the remainder of their European campaign.