• Champions League

Lennon accuses referee of Juventus bias

ESPN staff
February 13, 2013

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has accused referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco of being "very pro-Juventus" after his side were beaten 3-0 at Parkhead in the first leg of their Champions League second-round tie.

Despite dominating the match for large periods, Celtic could not convert any of their chances and were punished on the counter as Juve demonstrated a clinical finishing touch in front of goal through strikes from Alessandro Matri, Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic.

However, Celtic felt aggrieved that the official failed to deal with repeated instances of manhandling during corner kicks. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Simone Padoin were both booked for incidents while the ball was out of play, but Gary Hooper and Scott Brown were cautioned alongside them and Lennon felt his team were not given adequate protection.

"I thought he was poor," Lennon told Sky Sports. "I thought he was very pro-Juventus. I was disappointed with his performance to say the least.

"It's not rugby we're playing, it's soccer. I pointed it out to the referee at half-time in the tunnel area but he just waved me away. I made it clear to the players to flag it up to the referee in the second half, but he ignored our requests. They were being fouled, manhandled. Every time one of my players tried to move he was held. He should have given a penalty on at least two occasions.

"I'd like to know what the interpretation of the rules are in Italy or Spain, because it's blatantly different to what they are in Britain from what I've seen tonight. They were fouling on every opportunity and he was staring right at it. So are the rules different in Spain? Because, on that showing, they must be."

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