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Dec 11, 2003

Your verdict: Champions League fallout

Another controversial penalty cost Celtic their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League, as their opponents Lyon qualified at the Bhoys' expense.

Bobo Balde was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area and Juninho scored an 86th minute spot kick to frustrate Celtic and prompt a flood of emails to newsdesk@soccernet.com.

Elsewhere, Chelsea battled through a shower of missiles thrown by Turkish fans to beat Besiktas (who UEFA later charged with the improper conduct of their supporters) 2-0 and Manchester United and Arsenal qualified as group winners. [+]

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    Your Verdict:

    Someone should tell these incompetent fools that think they have to be the centre of attention and play a part in determining the outcome of games that their job is to referee the games in an un biased manner and stop f***ing cheating.

    Question: If Bobo Balde deliberately handled the ball in the penalty area why didn't the idiot in charge send him off?

    Answer: He didn't deliberately handle the ball in the area.

    Result: Celtic cheated of what was rightfully theirs.

    I can understand the frustration of the players and managers but Celtic only has themselves to blame and their incompetence at what they called defending and goal keeping. Lets be honest, they were really poor and it was school boy stuff.

    No more moaning Celtic fans. I've done my fair share let me tell you. Let's just be honest and admit we are not up to the standard just yet! It's great to see Neil Lennon, Henrick Larsson, Martin O'Neill and co hurting and feeling aggrieved at being harshly treated. Good to see they have some feeling about Celtic.

    Gerard Whelan


    A German ref in Turin two years ago...a German ref in Lyon two years later - bit of a pattern. What do they have against Celtic?

    Anyway, the replay is plain for all to see...Urs Meier and Paul Le Guen included. Had Paul Le Guen been in Martin O'Neill's shoes I wonder if his post match opinions would have been just a wee bit different?

    The ref screwed the call up...no hand ball, being that it glanced of Balde's bloody shoulder...not intentional...not a penalty. When will Celtic get their fair due in Europe?

    Celtic Bhoy Forever


    It amazes me how managers, players and commentators are still as blissfully ignorant as to how referees are trained when it comes the handball rule.

    'Deliberate handball' does not mean the player deliberately struck the ball with his hand. My training was that a handball was deliberate if the player had his hands in a position that they were not naturally meant to be in the playing of football.

    The natural position is hands down by the sides, so if a player's hands are elevated then that is deliberate, and if he happens to be struck by the ball at the time he has a good chance of being penalised.

    I believe this is what most referees look for - 'did the hands have a good reason to be there in the normal course of playing football' and the answer is often no.

    Clive Conway


    As an avid football fan, not necessarily favouring any particular club, I feel that the game itself is being cheated by referee's "mistakes". In Lyon, the referee was at best a "homer".

    Free kicks awarded in dangerous areas for the slightest challenge, Larsson ruled offside when through on goal in the first half, when even my 13 year-old noticed that he was well onside, and then that "penalty".

    Firstly the handball has to be deliberate or has to deny a clear goal-scoring chance: neither was the case in this instance.

    Secondly, the referee has to be sure that the ball struck the defenders hand. I have watched a recording in real time and slow motion, from three different angles, and still cannot see the ball strike a hand.

    Thirdly, the Lyon player who headed the ball did not even appeal for a corner!

    Add to this the "penalty" given to Bayern against Anderlecht....enough to say that it was an even bigger joke than the one in Lyon.

    Also the Lokomotiv Moscow player sent off at Highbury: he did make a strong challenge but was clearly fooled by the fact that the ball went through his legs and he slid into Ljungberg, obviously not causing any harm.

    Again, the referee apparently thinks it is a good idea to help the home club through to the next round. Thankfully, Lokomotiv got through thanks to the other result and UEFA's favoured partner for Arsenal, Inter Milan, failed to capitalise.

    In summary, a worrying night for anyone who wants to see fair play and wishes to see teams qualify because they deserve to, not because they happen to be one of the big boys.

    Ed J


  • Also, missile throwing at Besiktas v Chelsea.......

    Unless the reports were vastly over exaggerated, I find it unbelievable that there is not one news story on the behaviour of the Turkish fans in Germany.

    If the roles were reversed and the English fans created the chaos the Turks did, there would have been stories and comments out in the media before the game had even ended.

    UEFA would have certainly had something to say about it in the post match press conference, let alone the following day.

    It's ridiculous that travelling teams at both club and international level can't take fans to Turkey because of the lack of protection - just talk to Leeds fans - and yet UEFA seemingly do nothing about it time after time.

    However when an English fan drops a beer glass in a bar we have to put up with threats of expulsion and all kinds of crap.

    I do not condone hooliganism but equal treatment of every fan, irrespective of nationality, is paramount if progress is to be made.

    Richard Clark, Dallas, TX


    Turkish people are extremely hurt and pissed off at how UEFA approached Turkish teams after the attacks in Istanbul and this is not the first time that UEFA has been unfair to Turkish teams.

    This makes all the fans very emotional, most of the fans in the stadium were not Besiktas fans but Turks that are mad at UEFA.

    If there is somebody to blame it is UEFA.

    Baris Salihoglu


    It's disgraceful that such things still happen in modern day football... What were the fans trying to achieve?

    I suggest that in the face of such situations happening again, God forbid, the fans in question should be ordered out of the stadium immediately.

    Charge those fans, fine them and ban them from grounds. There is no place for such antics in football. I just hope the process can be fast enough.

    Ed, Singapore


    Well, well - the Turks are involved and there is some kind of disturbance (be it on the pitch or in the stands). When will UEFA grow some large ones and do something about this.

    For the last five years repeat offences have occurred and yet all they get are meagre fines or the threat of a possible ban. If this was England we would be banned from every bloody competition in the world.

    Maybe Mr. Blatter - the most useless individual in the history of this beautiful sport in my opinion - should spend more time with UEFA concentrating on the important matters of crowd & player violence rather than berating the F.A. for bad time management.

    Jon S


    Who let the Besiktas fans bring in the flares, fireworks, and TP into the stadium? Way to go with the security at the game! You can't even get a plastic bottle into a stadium here in the U.S.

    Olin Utterback


    For years the IRA, and Basque separatists exploded bombs in metro areas in England and Spain. And no game has been pushed to neutral grounds due to that.

    This is totally bullshit. UEFA politics and how UEFA is controlled by the high-roller teams has angered Turkish fans.

    Kartal Goksel


    I would assume that Besiktas fans want their team to win the game, and humiliate Chelsea. Do they not realize that this cannot happen if the players can't even get on the pitch?

    It's disgraceful that the fans would act this way, especially in a stadium and a country that they do not claim as their own, or would want to claim these particular fans.

    Erica Joyce


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