Lenny wants action replay ...and victory

Neil Lennon savoured the prospect of another two classic ties against Juventus after being paired with the Italian champions and Serie A leaders in the last 16 of the Champions League.

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Lennon was a Celtic player when the teams last met in the 2001-02 group stages, in dramatic circumstances.

Celtic came from two goals down in Turin, thanks to strikes from Stiliyan Petrov and Henrik Larsson, only to lose 3-2 after Nicola Amoruso dived to win a dubious late penalty, which had manager Martin O'Neill sent to the stand for his protests.

Celtic gained revenge with a 4-3 victory at Parkhead in the final group game with Chris Sutton hitting a double, but it was not enough to see them into the last 16.

Lennon would settle for similar controversy and action when the teams lock horns next year – if there is a different outcome.

"I remember them vividly," Lennon said. "The game in Turin was our first under Martin in the Champions League proper. We didn't play well in the first half and were 2-0.

"In the second half we played brilliantly and got it back to 2-2 and looked like we were going to go and win it or at least get a point, and then we got done by a shocking penalty decision. And that really set the tone for away performances in the Champions League for quite a while.

"The 4-3 game was one of the highlights of my career. A packed house, Del Piero, Trezeguet, Nedved, in the all-black outfit. They looked the part.

"It was just one of the great European nights. I hope we get two more exactly the same – goals, controversy, action. And I hope it goes our way."

Lennon had wanted to avoid Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United in the draw, but he sees little difference in quality between those two teams and Antonio Conte's side, who helped knock out holders Chelsea.

Juve went through last season unbeaten in Serie A and currently sit seven points clear. Lennon said: "They topped the group with Chelsea. They beat Chelsea 3-0 and not many teams do that.

"They are easily the best team in Italy at the moment and they are formidable opponents.

Juventus have a number of Italian internationalists – and seven of the squad that reached the Euro 2012 Final – including veteran playmaker Andrea Pirlo.

Lennon said: "The jewel in the crown would be Pirlo. He is a fantastic player. I played against him in 2007. He was a wonderful player then and he just seems to have matured and got better, even since then."


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