PSG 1 Newcastle 1: John Cross’ verdict
Kylian Mbappe has grabbed the headlines in France after Newcastle were robbed in the dying seconds of their Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night. Newcastle were heading for their second European victory of the campaign deep into stoppage time at the end of the match, before Mbappe converted from the penalty spot after a controversial handball decision.
Newcastle arrived at the Parc des Princes knowing that defeat would see them exit the Champions League at the group stages. And Eddie Howe’s men were in inspired form as Alexander Isak gave the visitors the lead midway through the first half.
The Magpies rode their luck after the interval as PSG went close on a number of occasions. And the Premier League giants were handed a killer blow at the death as Tino Livramento was deemed to have handled the ball inside the box.
Referee Szymon Marciniak, who had officiated well for the majority of the match, consulted the pitchside VAR monitor after Ousmane Dembele’s cross had struck the Newcastle defender. And despite the fact the footage clearly showed the ball hitting Livramento’s chest before ricocheting onto his arm, Marciniak pointed to the penalty spot.
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L’Equipe described Mbappe as a “saviour” in their top football story as the publication also criticised “feverish” PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma for his shaky display. A second story on their website called PSG “hot” and explained the Ligue 1 champions “remain in control of their own destiny”. There are separate quote pieces with Mbappe and manager Luis Enrique, with the Spaniard claiming his team “deserved to win”.
Meanwhile, Le Parisien labelled Mbappe a “very discreet hero” after the France striker kept his composure from 12 yards. The publication’s website led with a story that focused on Enrique’s “questionable decisions” and also featured an interview with Sylvain Distin where the former Manchester City defender said “Parisiens are going to ask themselves a lot of questions”.
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The outlet addressed the stoppage-time penalty, however, in a separate piece and took a look at Marciniak’s key decisions on the night.
Elsewhere, Le Figaro said Mbappe had “nerves of steel” in their top story as they featured plenty of post-match reaction. And the outlet ran an opinion piece that said PSG should have been awarded an earlier penalty in the match but “not the one that was whistled”. The story insisted that Livramento had “unintentionally deflected a cross” and said Marciniak had “got it wrong”.
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