Celtic Manager Neil Lennon Labels Champions League Referee "Pro-Juventus"

Adrian AgiusAnalyst IFebruary 12, 2013

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Celtic Manager Neil Lennon shouts to his players 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 by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Here's something that's sure to get the Juventus faithful on their feet. In what can only be described as poor comments, Celtic manager Neil Lennon has labelled match official, Alberto Undiano Mallenco‎, as "pro-Juventus."

The comments come during a post-match interview (via Eurosport) where Lennon discussed the night's proceedings saying "I think the scoreline flatters Juventus, but that is the harsh reality of football at this level. We had chances, great chances, and some of our football tonight was excellent."

When asked about the actions that took place during set-pieces, most notably, Stephan Lichtsteiner's confrontation with Gary Hooper in penalty area, Lennon had this to say:

They [Celtic] were being fouled, the referee was looking at it. They [Juventus] were putting their arms around the players, blocking their runs and trying to pull them down. The game must be different in Spain, must be different in Italy from what it is in Britain because you cannot do that in the penalty box. Cause it's a penalty.

I thought he [referee] was very poor, very pro-Juventus.

The comments come after Juventus defeated Celtic 3-0 at Celtic Park—an effort—the likes of which have rarely been seen in Champions League. Whilst Juventus were not at their dominant best, there is no doubting that they were far more clinical infront of goal than the home side.

Ironically enough, I personally believe if there was any team on the night that could complain about the officiating, it would actually be Juventus. If we reflect back on match proceedings, to the opening goal, Alessandro Matri's initial effort on goal was waved away. Had Claudio Marchisio not followed up on the rebound, Juventus would've been denied a completely legitimate goal.

For the most part, Alberto Undiano controlled the game well. Sure there were a few errors that went against both sides, but to label Mallenco as "pro-Juventus" is naive...especially during a time where world football is under investigation for match-fixing.