Paris Saint-Germain held a spirited Newcastle United side to a 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes thanks to a controversial late call from the VAR room.
Eddie Howe’s side went into stoppages 1-0 up courtesy of Alexander Isak’s first-half goal and were on the verge of scooping up a crucial three points in their bid to reach the Champions League knockouts.
Despite making a mouth-watering journey to the French capital without numerous first-team stars, the Magpies showed tremendous resilience, only to be punished by VAR’s mistake at the death.
With less than four minutes left on the clock, Tino Livramento’s arm blocked Ousmane Dembele’s attempted cross, prompting an energetic reaction from the entire PSG line-up.
Referee Szymon Marciniak waved play on, even though Luis Enrique’s team tried to coerce a spot-kick before receiving a call from VAR to review the incident on the side-pitch monitor.
Tomasz Kwiatkowski instructed the on-field referee to take another look, even though the ball hit Livramento’s arm after bouncing off his chest.
Marciniak was reluctant to point to the spot, but after revisiting the footage and consulting with VAR officials, he threw PSG a lifeline deep into stoppages.
Kylian Mbappe hammered the ball into the roof of the net, leaving an otherwise outstanding Nick Pope helpless to keep Newcastle third in the so-called ‘group of death’ going into the final matchday.
As per Express Sport, Kwiatkowski, who was supposed to officiate the match between Real Sociedad and Red Bull Salzburg in the last round, has been relieved of his duties.
But it’s a small consolation for the Magpies, considering their chances of making it out of Group F have significantly dwindled ahead of their crunch home game against AC Milan in mid-December.
Newcastle will not only have to beat the Italian powerhouse at St James’ Park but hope that Borussia Dortmund can hold PSG winless on home turf to advance into the last-16.
Howe must rally his troops quickly as they face Manchester United in a Premier League blockbuster on Saturday night.
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