Lennon faces charge over protest

Neil Lennon is facing a Uefa disciplinary hearing over his conduct during Celtic's 3-2 Champions' League defeat at Lyon. His manager, Martin O'Neill, has escaped a mention in the referee Urs Meier's report after criticising the Swiss official for awarding a late penalty. However, the European governing body has yet to hear from its match delegate.

The Celtic defender Bobo Balde was deemed to have handled the ball in the area in the 86th minute, and Juninho scored the winning goal from the penalty, demoting Celtic to the Uefa Cup. Lennon confronted the referee immediately after the penalty was awarded, which is mentioned in Meier's report.

O'Neill strode on to the pitch to confront the official at the end of the game and claimed he would have to "examine his game" but his conduct has not been censured by the referee.

A Uefa spokesman said: "We have received the referee's report and there is a mention of Neil Lennon but there is no mention of Martin O'Neill. But we have not received the Uefa delegate's report for the time being. There will then be a disciplinary meeting around February next year to see what action will be taken."

Lyon felt justice was done after reaching the last 16. Their coach, Paul Le Guen, whose side had gone out in the first round for the past two years, said: "The penalty was deserved and we deserved to win. After the disappointments of recent years, especially last season when we felt we deserved to qualify, this is a great achievement by the club and the players."

Lyon, the French champions for the past two years, missed out last season after losing 2-0 at home to Ajax, when they had an equaliser disallowed even though television replays showed the ball had crossed the line.

While disappointed to be out of the Champions' League, Celtic have the consolation of joining Newcastle and Liverpool in being seeded for the Uefa Cup third-round draw today. But the three British sides could draw the unseeded Turks, Besiktas, who face Uefa charges after the crowd trouble at their Champions' League defeat by Chelsea in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on Tuesday.

However, the good news for the British sides is they will avoid the draw's big guns - Barcelona, Internazionale and Roma.

UEFA CUP THIRD-ROUND QUALIFIERS

Auxerre (Fr); Barcelona (Sp); Benfica (Por); Besiktas (Tur); Bordeaux (Fr); Brondby (Den); CELTIC; Club Bruges (Bel); Debreceni (Hun); Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (Ukr); Galatasaray (Tur); Gaziantepspor (Tur); Genclerbirligi (Tur); Groclin (Pol); Internazionale (It); Levski Sofia (Bul); LIVERPOOL; Mallorca (Sp); Marseilles (Fr); NEWCASTLE UNITED; Panathinaikos (Gr); Parma (It); Perugia (It); PSV Eindhoven (Neth); Roma (It); Rosenborg (Nor); Sochaux (Fr); Spartak Moscow (Rus); Teplice (Cz Rep); Valencia (Sp) or Maccabi Haifa (Isr); Valerenga (Nor); Villarreal (Sp).

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