Celtic seeks UEFA view on Champions League referee

Updated 17 February 2013
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Celtic seeks UEFA view on Champions League referee

GLASGOW: Celtic are to seek “clarification” from UEFA regarding referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco’s performance in the 3-0 Champions League defeat by Juventus, manager Neil Lennon revealed yesterday.
Lennon was scathing about the performance of the Spanish match official immediately after Tuesday’s last-16, first-leg loss at Parkead, a defeat that rendered the return leg in Turin all but redundant.
And the Hoops boss repeated those comments Friday during what was meant to be a news conference previewing Saturday’s Scottish Premier League match at home to Dundee United.
Scottish champions Celtic were furious at the way Juventus defenders repeatedly manhandled their strikers at corners without any punishment and Lennon said Friday the club would take up the matter with European football’s governing body.
“The referee didn’t do his job and there has been a lot of talk since Tuesday night regarding it, so we are looking for clarification on the referee’s decisions during the game,” Lennon said.
“We are going to compile a DVD and send it to them (UEFA) and wait and see what answers we do get. We needed a strong referee and we didn’t have that.
“It was blatant. I have seen photographs where the shirt was almost pulled off Gary Hooper’s back and he ends up in the goal at one stage.
“I admire Gary for keeping his cool, if it had been me I might have got sent off for something I would have regretted later on.
“Gianluca Vialli (former Juventus captain) said we should have had two penalties, Graham Poll and Dermot Gallagher (former referees)...Trevor Francis said that even in his time playing in the ‘80s (in Italy) it was never as blatant as what he saw the other night, so these guys can’t all be wrong and the referee right.” Meanwhile, Lennon stood by his decision to play Efe Ambrose, who only returned to Glasgow early on Tuesday following Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations final win over Burkina Faso on Sunday.
Ambrose was at fault for two of Juventus’s goals and former Celtic captain Lennon said the defender had apologized to him for his performance.
“On reflection, if I had the opportunity to change anything I wouldn’t, I would go with the same team,” said the Northern Irishman.
“Efe made two basic mistakes but he had the clear-cut chance of the game for us and if he had scored then no one would have been talking about his selection,” Lennon added.
“I spoke to him and he said he was ready to play.
“When you make basic mistakes like Efe did then you are open to criticism and he has apologized for his performance.
“However, he has been a fantastic signing. He has added a new dimension to the way we play and some of his performances in the Champions League this season have been of an exceptionally high standard and so he doesn’t need to apologize, we all have bad nights.” After the game Celtic midfielder Kris Commons specifically berated Ambrose, saying: “If he felt good then he should have put in a better performance.” “It was heat of the moment stuff,” Lennon said Friday.
“I have spoken to Kris about it and it has been dealt with internally, and there is no bad feeling from anyone.

“Kris really cares and he was disappointed but he did overstep the line a little bit. Sometimes you have to keep your emotions in check.”


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.