Celtic manager Neil Lennon escapes charge for claim of referee is 'pro-Juventus'

Lennon was angry with Spanish official who controversially chose to ignore the endless series of shirt-pulling and grappling

Neil Lennon will not face a Uefa charge for calling the referee Alberto Mallenco "pro Juventus" in the immediate aftermath of defeat in the Champions League first leg tie on Tuesday night.

He will, however, have to address a row between two of his own players, after Kris Commons criticised Efe Ambrose for declaring he was fit to play after flying back from the African Cup of Nations on the day of the game.

Lennon's own anger was directed at Mallenco, the Spanish official who controversially chose to ignore the endless series of shirt-pulling and grappling that took place every time Celtic had a corner or a set-piece. Such goalscoring opportunities were key to Celtic's attempt to pull off another shock. That they were denied infuriated Lennon.

"I thought he was poor," he had said. "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."

Uefa however does not feel there is a case for the 41-year-old to answer and that will at least offer a very small dose of comfort. There will be no injury to go with the insult.

Lennon will have to deal with Commons' comments about Ambrose. The central defender erred twice during the 3-0 defeat to Juventus, and his team-mate claims he should not have made himself available to play. "If he wasn't feeling OK then he should have said so," said Commons. "If he felt good then he should have put in a better performance. The manager picked him. The manager pulled him to one side and asked him if he was feeling OK. He said he was feeling brilliant.

"It was just very sloppy individual mistakes, something you'd probably get away with on a playground, not in the last 16 of the Champions League. There are certain individuals who let the team down. Hopefully this is a one-off. The back four have made errors which have probably cost us the tie, but it's partly down to them why we're here in the first place."

Commons also added to the criticism of Mallenco. "He said if they did it again we would get a penalty," added Commons. "That was in the first half. The whole idea of the official behind the line was to look out for this kind of stuff, and if he can't identify when people are being hauled, man-handled or wrestled to the floor, I don't think he should be in a job. The referee kept stopping it and booking people and telling people to stop it. It clearly had no effect because right up until the 91st minute when we had a corner, it was still going on."

Juve's Stephan Lichtsteiner was booked for his attempt to move Gary Hooper away from his goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon. He was unrepentant. "It's normal," said the Juventus defender. "It is part of football."

Holding: What Fifa law says

Holding an opponent includes pre venting him moving past or around using the hand, arms or body. Referees are reminded to make an early intervention and deal firmly with hold ing offences, especially inside the area at corners and free-kicks.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor