Lennon looking for miracle

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted his side need a miracle to remain in the UEFA Champions League after a 3-0 home defeat to Juventus in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Last Updated: 13/02/13 at 09:50 Post Comment

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

The Scottish side were made to pay for two defensive blunders and a failure to make the most of their own opportunities as a brave and determined display ultimately counted for nothing against the Serie A leaders.

Alessandro Matri opened the scoring in the opening moments after a blunder from Efe Ambrose, with the defender again at fault for Mirko Vucinic's late third, with Claudio Marchisio also on target.

Celtic's European adventure looks to be over for another season ahead of the second leg in Turin on March 6 and Lennon told Sky Sports: "It is going to take a miracle.

"We will compete, we will try and score, we will try and make the tie competitive but it is a very tall order now.

"I am bitterly disappointed, I think the scoreline flatters Juventus, but that is the harsh reality of football at this level.

"We were excellent for 75-80 minutes. The second goal is a sucker-punch but the third goal was really poor from our point of view. Some of our football tonight was excellent and I didn't think that there were three goals between the teams."

The Celtic boss was particularly unimpressed with the performance of Spanish referee Alberto Mallenco, with the official doing little to stop regular incidents of wrestling in the Juve box as Celtic prepared to take corners.

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

"They were being fouled at every occasion. The referee is looking at it. They were putting their arms around players, blocking their runs, trying to pull them down...

"The game must be different in Spain and in Italy from what it is in Britain because you cannot do that in the penalty box because it is a penalty."

Ambrose had played for Nigeria in their Africa Cup of Nations Cup final win over Burkina Faso on Sunday and did not arrive back in Glasgow until the morning of the game, with Lennon admitting selecting the defender had backfired.

"He was poor for the first goal and then he has missed a great chance to make it 1-1," he said.

"Unfortunately for him he has just had one of those nights. I am not sure if it was fatigue or a lack of concentration, but the third goal is very disappointing from Efe's point of view."

Juventus manager Antonio Conte, who stayed away from any controversy when told about Lennon's assessment of the referee, was satisfied with his side's performance during what was at times a frantic match.

He said: "Celtic are a good team but we knew this, and there was a fantastic crowd who were like two extra men and that can only drive a team on.

"So it was a difficult match for us, but we kept our heads.

"Celtic played with great intensity but we showed great maturity and overall it was an excellent result for us."

To find out more about live football on Sky Sports, Click here

Bet £10 Get £30

Daily Offers And Promotions. Join Now & Bet £10 and Get a £30 Free Bet

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

recently had to complete a difficult project at work. I had to come in early, stay late. I even had to work some 7 day weeks. Anyway, long story short, I'm now a member of Britain First. Slippery slope.

sailingmagpie
Will The Laughable 'Banter' Defence Lead To Change?

C

rikey, Spain is so exotic, we have cold Tuesday nights in Stoke, they have hot Thursday nights in Eibar

Gollo
Atletico Ready For Another Title Tilt

Y

es, these stats are right. Rio Ferdinand definitely had a better debut than Fernando.

that man
Top Ten Debutants From Opening Weekend...

Footer 365

LMA apologises for wording of Malky Mackay statement over Cardiff dossier

The LMA has apologised for the wording of its press release on Thursday in relation to Malky Mackay.

Rio Ferdinand would love to manage England after his playing career ends

Rio Ferdinand would love to manage England one day after revealing his long-term plans for a future in football as a coach.

Premier League: Former Cardiff boss Malky Mackay promises to co-operate with FA

Malky Mackay says he will co-operate fully with an FA investigation into Cardiff's text message dossier.

Mail Box

Man United: One Game To Save Season

They have one match to convince decent players that they are worth joining - over to you, Louis. We also have mails on Malky Mackay, Mario Balotelli and Tim...

Man United Fans Clutching At Straws

While the focus is on Liverpool's move for Mario Balotelli, one Man United fan tries to convince the mailbox with nine reasons why Angel Di Maria would prefer them to PSG...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property