The football world has erupted in outrage after Newcastle United were denied a famous win over Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League group stages. The Magpies were seconds away from completing an astonishing group stage double against the French giants until PSG were awarded a controversial stoppage time penalty that Kylian Mbappe dispatched to rescue a 1-1 draw.
Alexander Isaak had given the visitors the lead on 24 minutes but the visitors were left shattered and angry after being on the wrong end of a VAR decision for handball in the 97th minute of the match. Video officials adjudged Tino Livramento to have handled the ball after Ousmane Dembele's cross first bounced off his chest and then deflected into his elbow.
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Polish referee Szymon Marciniak initially brushed off the penalty claims from PSG but overturned his initial decision after being convinced to have another look at the incident on the pitch-side VAR monitor. The penalty looked incredibly harsh on Newcastle and Livramento, whose arm was not in an unnatural position.
It was only a fraction of second between when the ball struck the Newcastle defender on the chest and when it touched his elbow, leaving Magpies manager Eddie Howe fuming after the final whistle. “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," the Newcastle manager said.
"Their commitment, execution... We rode our luck. We ran out of luck at the end. I didn’t think it was a penalty. What you don’t take into account with those replays is how quick the ball goes. It hits his chest first. If it hits his hands first, well it’s still not a penalty because he’s so close. But you can make more of a case.
“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."
The 1-1 result could prove crucial to Newcastle's hopes of advancing to the Champions League knockout stages, with Howe's side now needing to beat AC Milan in their final group game and hope that Borussia Dortmund do them a favour by beating PSG. The Germans are already assured of their passage to the last 16 after a 3-1 win over Milan which sees them sit top of Group F on 10 points, ahead of PSG (7), Newcastle (5) and Milan (5).
Football world rages over 'disgusting' call
Pundits were equally baffled and outraged by the penalty decision with Socceroos great Craig Foster describing it as a "horrible" call and former Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood labelling it "disgusting". Sherwood told Sherwood on Sky Sports: “It is a disgusting decision. It is ridiculous. It is impossible.”
Former Premier League star Jermaine Jenas said on TNT Sports: “What is Livramento meant to do with his arms? Wrap them round his back? I’m fuming. The players threw everything at it and it should have been one of those historic wins.
Newcastle have been robbed. It’s one of the most disgraceful decisions I’ve seen in a long time!” Fellow pundit Ally McCoist agreed, adding: “It comes off Tino Livramento’s chest and hits his elbow. That is absolutely never a penalty. If we’re giving a penalty for that, then it is a disgrace.” The incident sparked a similar wave of backlash from football fans all around the world.
Gunners fan here, Newcastle got PSG'd aka robbed. https://t.co/gpeYQ6LMue
— JT (@ScumWizard) November 29, 2023
Robbed, Newcastle should have won that game what a horrible decision https://t.co/CpOFg0JxKP
— Matthew Smith (@MatthewLawSmith) November 29, 2023
Disgrace that Newcastle lose the 3 points on that awful VAR decision. What a state the game is in 🤦🏻♂️ #PSGNEW
— Matt Bateman (@MattyShaun) November 29, 2023
Newcastle robbed tonight. That decision to give the penalty was a disgrace
— Lamont (@Lamont_87) November 28, 2023
absolutely disgraceful decision against newcastle tonight . the amount of blatantly obvious decisions VAR get wrong is inconceivable without corruption . the system remains a cancer on football and must be scrapped at the very latest end of this season or RIP football #robbed
— Tony Steele (@tds122) November 28, 2023
Newcastle was absolutely robbed today
In no way shape of form was that a penalty
— Juanchï 🇨🇴 (@juanpalacio81) November 29, 2023
Never a pen that, the VAR inconsistencies we see the Premier League still finds a way of morphing onto the Champions League stage. Still a priceless point for Newcastle but the truth is they were robbed of all three when they were so close to a famous victory... #UCL #PSGNEW https://t.co/IEpeJLIB3y
— Cameron Attridge (@c21attridge95) November 29, 2023
Manchester City seal thrilling comeback win
In other action, defending champions Manchester City came from two goals down at halftime to beat RB Leipzig at Etihad Stadium, with Phil Foden creating two and scored another to keep Pep Guardiola's side unbeaten after five Group G matches. Erling Haaland also scored to become the fastest man to 40 Champions League goals - the feat coming in just 35 games.
City's emphatic response came after Lois Openda's first-half double shot Leipzig out to a shock lead over the holders. Substitute Julian Alvarez came off the bench to wrap up the fightback for City in the 87th minute.
In Barcelona, Portuguese duo Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo each scored as the Spainsh giants defeated FC Porto 2-1 to secure their return to the knockout phase after bowing out at the group stages the last two seasons.
Elsewhere, Ciro Immobile bagged a double in the final 10 minutes as Lazio beat Celtic 2-0 in Rome to end the Scottish champions' hopes in the competition. Atletico Madrid sealed their progress along with Lazio out of Group E thanks to a 3-1 win at Feyenoord, Royal Antwerp lost 1-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg and Young Boys beat visiting Red Star Belgrade 2-0.
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