PSG 1-1 Newcastle: Mbappe leaves it late as Magpies rue Champions League VAR drama

News Desk
PSG's Kylian Mbappe
PSG's Kylian Mbappe

PSG managed to claim a late point against Newcastle thanks to a Kylian Mbappe penalty which leaves Eddie Howe’s side third in Group F.

Defender Tino Livramento was harshly adjudged to have handled Ousmane Dembele’s cross to allow the France superstar to finally beat goalkeeper Nick Pope from the spot on a night when Eddie Howe’s men came within seconds of a win which would have set them up perfectly for their final Group F fixture against AC Milan at St James’ Park.

They led through Alexander Isak’s 24th-minute strike and looked to have survived a second-half onslaught with Pope saving from Mbappe, Dembele and substitute Bradley Barcola, but they headed back to Tyneside wondering what might have been after the draw kept their hopes of a place in the last 16 alive, but only just.

Victory over the Italians combined with defeat for PSG at Borussia Dortmund, who have already qualified, would see the dream realised, but their fate is now out of their own hands.

That is harsh on Howe’s injury-ravaged squad, who turned in a performance of real character in Paris with Bruno Guimaraes Livramento, Pope, Miguel Almiron and – as the game became increasingly stretched – Anthony Gordon shining in particular.

Mbappe started in ominous mood as he and Lee Kang-in combined repeatedly down the left and Pope had to save the PSG skipper’s audacious flick with his feet after Randal Kolo Muani had played full-back Achraf Hakimi into space with an equally deft touch.

However, the visitors should have taken a 12th-minute lead when Almiron dispossessed Hakimi and crossed low to Isak at the near post only to see the striker lift his first-time shot agonisingly over.

They did with 24 minutes gone when full-back Livramento embarked on a scything run which took him past Dembele, Hakimi, Fabian Ruiz, Milan Skriniar, Manuel Ugarte and Lee before he fed Almiron on the right.

The Paraguay international curled a shot towards the far post, where goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma could only push the ball out to Isak, who gleefully slammed it into the net.

Pope had to come to Isak’s rescue after he lost possession and Dembele raced away and tried to steer the ball inside the far post as PSG responded, but for all their attacking flair, the French side were struggling to break down their English opponents.

Skriniar was perhaps fortunate not to be penalised for handball as he made a last-ditch attempt to deny Isak a clear run on goal in stoppage-time, but Pope was grateful for the sizeable presence of Fabian Schar in front of him to keep out Dembele’s well-struck attempt from Mbappe’s cross.

Isak was almost through on goal again within seconds of the restart after running on to Joelinton’s defence-splitting pass before eventually being snuffed out by the recovering blue shirts and, with Anthony Gordon keeping the PSG defence occupied, frustration was mounting among the home ranks.

They might have been back in it, however, had Pope not raced from his line to block Dembele’s 56th-minute toe-poke and the keeper was rewarded when Mbappe completely missed his as he attempted to acrobatically volley home the rebound.

The Magpies edged ever deeper as Luis Enrique’s men fought desperately for a way back into the game and they almost got it with 66 minutes gone when Mbappe tricked his way past Schar and crossed for Barcola, whose point-blank effort was brilliantly saved by Pope.

Barcola fired wastefully into the side-netting after getting in behind the visitors’ defence and Gordon survived a VAR review for a penalty after Hakimi had gone down under his challenge with Newcastle visibly tiring.

Pope blocked Mbappe’s 87th-minute strike at his near post and saw the France international thump the rebound inches wide, but he was finally beaten at the death after Polish referee Szymon Marciniak had reviewed the incident in which Dembele’s cross appeared to hit Livramento’s side and loop up on to the underside of his arm and belatedly awarded a spot-kick.

READ MORE: Newcastle star hailed as pundit admits ‘he’s making me eat my words’ after doubting £45m transfer