Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe hit out at the decision to award Paris Saint-Germain a last-gasp penalty that denied his team a Champions League win over the French club on Tuesday.
The Premier League side were leading 1-0 at the Parc des Princes thanks to Alexander Isak’s 25th-minute goal, until Polish referee Szymon Marciniak awarded PSG a penalty deep in injury time following a VAR check for a handball by Tino Livramento.
KYLIAN MBAPPE EARNS PSG A DRAW
The award appeared harsh, and Kylian Mbappe converted the spot-kick to earn PSG a 1-1 draw that changes the outlook for both clubs going into the final round of matches in Group F.
“In my opinion, it wasn’t the right decision,” insisted Howe as he spoke to reporters after the game.
“It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down looks totally different to the live event.
“It hits his hand, but I don’t think his hand is in an unnatural position. I feel it is a poor decision.
“It is hugely frustrating for us because at that moment you know how little time there is left in the game, but there is nothing we can do about it now.”
A win would have taken Newcastle into their final group game at home to AC Milan next month with their fate in their own hands in terms of securing qualification for the last 16.
Instead, the draw leaves them in third place, and PSG will join the already-qualified Borussia Dortmund in going through if they win their last game in Germany.
Newcastle must beat Milan at St James’ Park and also hope for a slip-up by PSG on the final matchday.
“I just feel for the players after what they have given and for how they have performed in very difficult circumstances, and what that decision does to the group because now the destiny is not with us,” Howe added.
“That is tough to take after being so close to being in that position.”
Newcastle’s first Champions League campaign in two decades has so far been a story of ups and downs, with a 4-1 win at home to PSG last month being followed by consecutive losses against Dortmund before Tuesday’s game.
“You have to look at what the players have given and I can’t be deflated by what they have given tonight,” said Howe, who was hoping to mark his 46th birthday on Wednesday with a victory.
Asked about his team’s European campaign so far he added: “We have been thrown in at the deep end with the group, with high-class opposition, great stadiums and brilliant atmospheres.
“We are desperate to stay in the competition and show a better version of ourselves because I don’t think people have seen that yet.”