NEIL LENNON remained positive as well as puzzled by some baffling decisions from ropey ref Jose Sanchez in Celtic’s well-merited 1-1 draw in the Europa League group opener in Brittany last night, as CQN reported.
The Hoops boss admitted the champions feel “harshly done by” following a dramatic confrontation with the French Cup winners.
Lennon believed his team should have received a penalty-kick before they were eventually awarded an indisputable spot-kick from which Ryan Christie swept in the equaliser to cancel M’Baye Niang’s spot-kick opener.
He was convinced Christie had been tripped by defender Joris Gnagnon earlier, but the whistler waved play on.
The Irishman was angry at the bewildering red card for substitute Vakoun Issouf Bayo only minutes after replacing Odsonne Edouard.
The Ivorian powerhouse was booked for a foul on Damien Da Silva who was carried off and the frontman was then banished for a nothing challenge on theatrical and cheating goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
SEEING RED…ropey ref Jose Sanchez sends off Vakoun Issouf Bayo.
Lennon insisted if the Video Assistant Referee system had been in operation the decisions by the Spanish official would have been overturned.
VAR is in operation in the Champions League, but is not available in the Europa tournament and the Celtic gaffer, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “I was aware of that before the game.
“We are playing under the UEFA banner. I’m surprised we don’t have it in this competition. If we had had it, we would have had another penalty.
“I’m not happy about the sending-off and we should have had a clear penalty for the foul on Ryan Christie. However, I have to be satisfied to come away from home and play very strongly against a good side speaks volumes for the character and quality of the team.”
The banishment of Bayo mystified Lennon with the match official initially signalling that there had been no contact between the players, despite an Oscar-winning performance from the Senegalese international shotstopper as he writhed on the ground.
Lennon added: “It looks to me like the referee was waving play on. I don’t know if he looked back at the goalkeeper as he was holding his head. There was no contact with his face at all. If anything, it was minimal across his midriff.
“The referee changed his mind. Bayo can feel very hard done by by that decision.
“We pride ourselves on our team discipline. Yes, we lost a player to a red card, but we feel harshly done by.
“The players acquitted themselves brilliantly in testing circumstances with the volume of crowd going up and their bench getting a little bit vociferous.
“We kept our composure very well. It’s great start to the group.”