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Celtic 0-3 Juventus: Efe Ambrose Proves Costly For Bhoys (PICTURES)

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Neil Lennon castigated Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco after Celtic were beaten 3-0 by Juventus at Parkhead but was reluctant to acknowledge he had made an error in starting defender Efe Ambrose.

Lennon admitted the Bhoys needed "a miracle" if they were to progress through to the quarter-finals after goals from Alessandro Matri, Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic in Tuesday night's first leg.

However, the Celtic boss was raging with the referee and his officials for their reluctance to punish Juventus players, in particular Stephan Lichtsteiner, for what at times resembled a wrestling match in the visitors' penalty area.

efe ambrose

Ambrose had a nightmare

"I would like to ask the Italian journalists what they made of the way Juventus marked our players," Lennon said. "It looked to me as if they were fouling at every opportunity. The referee was warned by our players to keep an eye on it but he ignored our requests time and again."

He added: "We were getting hauled back and the referee is looking straight at it. Are the rules different in Spain and Italy to what they are in Britain? On that showing they must be.

"We played Juventus in 2001 here and (Paolo) Montero was marking Chris Sutton and the referee warned him, but he persisted with it and he gave a penalty and we went on to win 4-3, so what is the difference? What is the Spanish referee's interpretation of that?"

By that point Celtic were already trailing after Efe Ambrose, who would later be culpable for Vucinic's strike, gifted Juve an early lead with some dithering defending. He also headed a presentable chance straight at Gianluigi Buffon when left unmarked with the visitors only a goal ahead.

Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
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Ambrose had featured for Nigeria in their 1-0 African Cup of Nations final win over Burkina Faso on Sunday and did not arrive back in Glasgow until Tuesday. However Lennon was reluctant to admit he had made a mistake by starting the Nigerian.

"He was caught for the first goal but it was nothing to do with tiredness and I felt once he got over that he was fine," the Northern Irishman added.

"In hindsight and maybe it was a bit of gamble."

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