PARIS, Nov 29 ― Kylian Mbappe struck a controversial penalty deep in stoppage time to earn Paris St Germain a 1-1 draw against a valiant Newcastle United in the Parc des Princes and keep their Champions League destiny in their own hands today.
The visitors had led the Group F clash since midway through the opening half thanks to Alexander Isak's tap-in, his first Champions League goal. They weathered a furious late assault from the hosts only to be denied by a cruel and highly-contentious decision.
PSG's players howled loudly for handball when the ball bounced off Newcastle's Tino Livramento's chest and against his elbow with referee Szymon Marciniak then invited to check the pitchside monitor by the VAR.
To Newcastle's horror, Marciniak, who had turned down a more likely penalty earlier, pointed to the spot and Mbappe was cool as a cucumber to fire high past keeper Nick Pope in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
It was a massive goal for Luis Enrique's side who had contrived to fritter away chances and were seconds away from dropping down to third place which would have left them in grave danger of failing to progress from the group stage to the knockout rounds for the first time since 2004-05.
They are still in danger but their prospects certainly look a lot better. They have seven points from five games and face already qualified Borussia Dortmund (10) away in their final game. Victory in Germany will seal PSG's place in the last-16.
Newcastle have five points and host AC Milan (5) in their final game needing to win while hoping PSG fail to beat Dortmund. Milan could also still qualify with a win on what will be a nervous concluding night to the tightest of groups.
After damaging home and away defeats to Dortmund and with a lengthy injury list, Newcastle produced a superb rearguard action after Isak had tucked away a rebound in the 24th minute when PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma had spilled Miguel Almiron's low shot into his path.
PSG will point to the fact that they had more than 30 goal attempts. But a combination of wasteful finishing and an inspired Newcastle keeper Nick Pope left them on the brink of a second group defeat by Newcastle after a 4-1 spanking away.
But Mbappe's cool finish means they have now lost only one of their last 36 group stage matches in the competition at home.
“It's hard when you see the game. What happened was we had so many chances to win,” Mbappe told TNT Sport.
“I think I could have done more for my team. I had many chances and didn't score more goals.”
For Newcastle all is not lost but they could not hide their disappointment.
“I'm still coming to terms with it. I feel really flat but at the same time really pleased with what the players gave today,” manager Eddie Howe said.
“It's not a penalty when it hits his chest first and then hits his hand which is low. I'm not allowed to sum it up. I can't say my inner thoughts obviously.”
Newcastle withstood a fast start by PSG with Pope saving brilliantly from Mbappe's sublime flick.
Pope also denied Ousmane Dembele in the first half but the real siege began midway through the second half.
Substitute Bradley Barcola was denied by a sensational Pope save and missed an open goal late on while Mbappe was also guilty of glaring misses as Newcastle hung on grimly.
“We're still in it, and that's the thing we can't forget,” Howe said. ― Reuters