Newcastle United settled for a 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain after a terrible stoppage-time penalty judgment, which Kylian Mbappe converted
Alexander Isak put Eddie Howe’s team ahead midway through the first half, and Newcastle resisted significant PSG pressure after that. But Nick Pope was powerless to save Mbappe’s penalty following a harsh handball judgment against Tino Livramento.
Mbappe looked electrifying early on, forcing a brilliant save from Nick Pope with a flicked attempt when he found space in behind. The Magpies appeared to be in for an uncomfortable night, but they quickly adjusted to the situation and put pressure on PSG.
When put up by the outstanding Miguel Almiron, Isak could have scored earlier but fired over the bar. He didn’t have to wait very long. Livramento’s frantic run found Almiron, whose shot was parried into the path of Isak, who slammed in the rebound.
PSG were disturbed by Newcastle’s tenacity in the first half, with Almiron and Anthony Gordon battling tirelessly to shield the full-backs. PSG had no time to dribble the ball around. However, the danger of their best players was always present.
Late in the first half, Mbappe set up Ousmane Dembele, but his shot struck Fabian Schar when either side of the Newcastle defender would have brought the equalizer. It was a foreshadowing of things to come, as PSG pressed hard for that goal in the second half.
They thought they had it when Mbappe danced away of the defense and set up the most simple of opportunities for replacement Bradley Barcola, but Pope somehow managed to keep the ball out of the Newcastle net. It was an incredible rescue.
Luis Enrique’s team got increasingly desperate, claiming a penalty when Achraf Hakimi was brought down by Anthony Gordon’s challenge and also when the ball struck Lewis Miley’s arm. The 17-year-old midfielder performed admirably.
Newcastle fought valiantly, but the misses continued. When Dembele sneaked in ahead of Schar at the near post, he had a great opportunity from close range, but he got too much on it and could only fire wide. Pope is once again spared from Mbappe.
But the ball ricocheted off Livramento’s chest and into his arm just as time was running out. The referee was sent to the monitor, where he made the decision to give the spot-kick. Mbappe did the rest with a confident finish, but Newcastle had every right to be upset.
They were almost there and would have expected to finish the task at home in Milan. They must now win that game and hope that Dortmund can help them. But that is for another night. For now, the emotions will be pride and frustration.
Eddie Howe: Penalty decision was not correct
“In my opinion, it was not the right decision,” said Howe afterwards.
“There are so many things to take into account in that moment. The speed, first. It is a ricochet that, when it is slowed down, looks totally different to the live event.
“The ball hits his chest first and then comes up and hits his hand but I do not think his hand is in an unnatural position. They are down by his side. He is running in a running motion. I feel it is a poor decision.
“It was hugely frustrating for us because you know in that moment how little time there is left in the game but there is nothing we can do about it now.
“I have to control myself, that is my job. It does not do any good to lose control of what you think and what you say.
“But I just feel for the players after what they have given today and how we have performed in very difficult circumstances and what that does to the group because now our destiny is not in our own hands and that is tough to take after being in that position.”
Analysis on call against Newcastle
Paris Saint-Germain scored with their 30th shot of the game, and some of those were good chances, so Newcastle might have been punished sooner. But it will be the manner of the equaliser, a gift from the officials, that will gratify the most.
Mbappe’s brilliance did not allow him to break through the Newcastle back line. He was given the ball and was allowed to convert from the spot due to no Newcastle fault. Simply a really nasty penalty call that necessitated a VAR review.
The decision to give a spot-kick for the ball touching Livramento’s arm after rebounding there via his chest would have been absurd regardless of his body type. It is known as running. But, considering the preceding circumstances, it seemed even weirder.
When the ball touched Miley’s arm after having rebounded off another body part, there had already been a VAR check. The referee was not asked to look at the monitor on that occasion. There was no penalty, but Livramento’s reaction time was much faster.
“It is a disgusting decision,” said Tim Sherwood, watching the game for Sky Sports. “It is ridiculous. It is impossible.” Howe appeared bereft afterwards. So close and denied not by the genius of Mbappe but by a genuinely bizarre bit of decision-making.