Report as Kylian Mbappe's controversial stoppage-time penalty denied Newcastle victory in the Parc des Princes; Alexander Isak's first-half goal and Nick Pope's saves had looked to take Eddie Howe’s team to a memorable Champions League win
Wednesday 29 November 2023 10:25, UK
Newcastle had to settle for a 1-1 draw away to Paris Saint-Germain following a cruel stoppage-time penalty decision as Kylian Mbappe converted from the spot.
Alexander Isak had put Eddie Howe's side ahead midway through the first half and Newcastle bravely withstood heavy PSG pressure thereafter. But there was nothing Nick Pope could do to stop Mbappe's penalty after a harsh handball call against Tino Livramento.
Victory in Paris would have put Newcastle's qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League in their own hands in the final game at home to AC Milan. Now, after this bitter late blow, they must hope PSG slip up away to Borussia Dortmund.
Mbappe looked electric in the early stages of the game, forcing a smart stop from Nick Pope with his flicked shot when he found space in behind. The Magpies looked in for an awkward night but they soon got to grips with the challenge and put pressure on PSG.
Isak might have scored before he did when set up by the impressive Miguel Almiron but shot over the bar. He did not have to wait long. A mazy run by Livramento found Almiron and the Paraguayan's shot was parried into Isak's path who hammered in the rebound.
It was the intensity of Newcastle's play that troubled PSG in the first half, Almiron and Anthony Gordon working tirelessly to protect the full-backs. There was no time for PSG to stroke the ball around. But the threat of their star players was ever present.
Mbappe set up Ousmane Dembele late in the first half but his shot struck Fabian Schar when either side of the Newcastle defender would have brought the equaliser. It was a sign of what was to come because PSG pushed hard for that goal in the second half.
Regarded as one of the world's best referees, Szymon Marciniak took charge of last year's World Cup final between Argentina and France.
The Polish referee was also the man in the middle for June's Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan.
They were certain they had it when Mbappe danced clear of the defence and laid the most straightforward of chances on for the substitute Bradley Barcola but Pope somehow contrived to keep the ball out of the Newcastle net. It was an astonishing save.
Luis Enrique's side became increasingly desperate, appealing for a penalty when Achraf Hakimi went down under a challenge from Anthony Gordon and also when the ball struck the arm of Lewis Miley. The 17-year-old midfielder was outstanding.
Newcastle defended courageously and the misses kept coming. Dembele had a glorious opportunity from close range when he stole in ahead of Schar at the near post but he got too much on it and could only shoot wide. Pope then saved again from Mbappe.
But time was almost up when the ball ricocheted off Livramento's chest and into his arm. The referee was asked to go to the monitor and decided to award the spot-kick. Mbappe did the rest with a confident finish but Newcastle were entitled to feel hard done by.
They were almost there and would have fancied themselves to complete the job at home to AC Milan. Now they need to win that game and hope that Dortmund can do them a favour. But that is for another night. For now, the emotions will be pride and frustration.
The VAR who reviewed the penalty awarded to PSG against Newcastle for a controversial handball has been stood down from his game on Wednesday, Sky Sports News understands.
Tomasz Kwiatkowski asked referee Szymon Marciniak to go to the screen after the review which looked into a potential handball by Tino Livramento - the referee did not give the penalty onfield but reversed the decision after looking at the incident on the screen.
Kwiatkowski was due to be the VAR in tonight's Champions League game between Real Sociedad and Salzburg but has now been replaced.
"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."
Paris Saint-Germain scored with their 30th shot of the game and a number of those were clear opportunities so Newcastle could well have been punished earlier than they were. But it was the manner of the equaliser, a gift from the officials, that will so grate.
Mbappe did not breach the Newcastle back line with a bit of brilliance. He was handed the ball and able to convert from the penalty spot not because of a Newcastle error either. Just a desperately cruel penalty call that required a VAR review to make it happen.
The decision to award a spot-kick for the ball striking Livramento's arm after bouncing there via his chest would have been inexplicable regardless - there was nothing unnatural about his body shape. It is called running. But it was even stranger given earlier events.
There had already been a VAR check when the ball hit the arm of Miley having bounced off another body part. On that occasion, the referee was not asked to view the monitor. It was no penalty either but the reaction time for Livramento was even less.
"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.
IFAB's laws state…
For the purposes of determining handball offences, the upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit. Not every touch of a player's hand/arm with the ball is an offence.
It is an offence if a player:
Every league, competition and governing body has its own guidelines on how to interpret the laws of the game and ahead of the 2023/24 season, UEFA moved to try and limit the giving of handball offences in regards to deflections, as well as the punishment for yellow and red cards shown for handball.
UEFA's guidelines say "no handball offence should be called on a player if the ball is previously deflected from his own body, and, in particular, when the ball does not go towards the goal." However, this was only a recommendation from the UEFA Football Board, which includes coaches and former players like England boss Gareth Southgate, former England defender Rio Ferdinand and ex-Wales star Gareth Bale, and was never formally ratified.
The guidelines also say "not every handball should automatically lead to a caution after every shot at goal, as anticipated by the current guidelines."
Finally, UEFA also said they will petition IFAB to change the rule of an automatic red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity by handling the ball, specifically to take intent into account with this decision. Therefore, according to UEFA, the laws would be changed to show a red card only in the situation of an intentional handball to deny a goal, whereas a yellow card would be shown in situations where intent was not clear.
Meanwhile, the Premier League guidelines state a player will be penalised for handball if:
Newcastle are back in Premier League action at home to Manchester United on Saturday; kick off 8pm. Paris Saint-Germain visit Le Havre in Ligue 1 on Sunday; kick-off 12pm.
Newcastle complete their Champions League group stage campaign at home to AC Milan on December 13; kick off 8pm. PSG visit Borussia Dortmund at the same time.