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Late penalty leaves Eddie Howe ‘hugely frustrated’

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Nov 2023

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Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was left fuming after Paris St Germain denied Newcastle a priceless Champions League victory with a controversial stoppage-time penalty.

The Magpies looked to be heading for a famous 1-0 win at the Parc des Princes as they battled their way through a second-half onslaught from the hosts until Polish referee Szymon Marciniak awarded a spot-kick against Tino Livramento after a VAR review, allowing Kylian Mbappe to level in the eighth and final minute of added time.

Howe, who said in a television interview that the official had been placed under “extreme” pressure by the PSG players, labelled a decision which cost his side two precious points “poor” in his post-match press conference.

Asked if he felt a sense of injustice, he said: “Yes, I do. It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion.

“There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first. It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down, looks completely different to the live event.

“The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, they [his hands] are down by his side, but he is in a running motion.

“I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us as you know how little time there is left in the game. There is nothing we can do about it now.”

The pivotal moment arrived in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Ousmane Dembele attempted to deliver the ball across the Newcastle penalty area and saw it hit Livramento’s side and rear up on to the underside of his arm.

Mr Marciniak, who had earlier seen decisions not to award spot-kicks for an Anthony Gordon challenge on Achraf Hakimi and a shout for handball against teenager midfielder Lewis Miley upheld, was advised to review the incident and this time decided to award the penalty.

The Magpies, who had taken a 24th-minute lead through Alexander Isak, defended it for grim life until the last-gasp controversy, although they needed Pope to be at his brilliant best on several occasions.

They now need to beat AC Milan at home on December 13 and hope PSG do not win away to Borussia Dortmund to progress.

Asked if that was something to cling on to, Howe, who celebrates his 46th birthday on Wednesday, said: “Yes, I think that’s absolutely right. In the next couple of days, that will become more relevant in our thoughts, I think.

“When the draw came out, it was the ‘group of death’ and I don’t think many people gave us a chance of qualifying from it and sitting here now, I’m a little bit frustrated that it’s not in our hands because when I look back at the two Dortmund games, I felt we could have done better in those matches.

“I don’t think it’s the time for that, I think it’s probably a time to be positive and to say that if we can beat Milan, then good things can happen from it.”

For PSG boss Luis Enrique, there was a mixture of relief and frustration on a night when his side created a host of chances but were unable to take any of them until Mbappe’s late intervention.

Enrique said: “Without a doubt, we played a very great game. We deserved to win. We played better than Newcastle. The result does not reflect what happened on the pitch.

“It’s not basketball. We are one of the teams in Europe that scores the most. Sometimes the ball doesn’t want to go in.

“Sometimes the game looked like table tennis. I couldn’t believe we couldn’t score, but we carried on despite the frustration.”

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