Celtic manager Martin O’Neill was left with a bitter taste in his mouth after his side went down 3-2 in Lyon after the French club were awarded a penalty in the 85th minute.
Celic look to have secured the necessary point that they required when Bobo Balde appeared the handle the ball in the penalty area. Referee Urs Meier pointed to the spot and Juninho made it 3-2.
O’Neill raged after the game: “I saw the ball go into the penalty box and Bobo’s arm up but it wasn’t a deliberate handball. There was a slight touch if anything at all.”
Lyon coach Paul Le Guen on the other hand, was convinced that Meier had made the right decision.
“I thought it was a justified penalty and I felt we could have scored more goals, especially in the opening periods of the two halves,” he said.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas added: “Tonight you could see the importance of good refereeing because that was definitely handball by Balde.”
Le Guen also praised his team’s tenacity and ability to out-muscle the Scots.
He said: “It was a very difficult match against a team with some very strong and physical players and my team did very well to be so consistent and to win.”
O’Neill was pleased with team’s first-half performance but they struggled to find their rhythm in the second.
“We gave away a bad goal after half-time which knocked the stuffing out of us for 10-15 minutes,” said the Northern Irishman.
The manager shouldered most of the blame from his players, saying that perhaps he got his tactics wrong.
“If there is such a thing in a Champions League game where, with three or four minutes to go, you can look at it and think you can defend the position – well I thought this was it,” he said.
The Glasgow side will now be put in the draw for the UEFA Cup, the competition they reached the final of last year.
O’Neill added: “It’s a consolation and we’re still involved in Europe, but at this moment the defeat is very hard to take.”