Kylian Mbappé’s penalty, eight minutes into stoppage time, salvaged a 1-1 draw for PSG against Newcastle on Tuesday’s night at the Parc des Princes.
The referee’s decision to award a penalty to the host did not, however, sit well with Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe, who described the decision as frustrating.
The draw kept Luis Enrique’s team in control of their own destiny in Group F after Alexander Isak’s first-half goal had put Newcastle ahead. The late spot-kick means that PSG’s task on matchday six at Borussia Dortmund is simple — win and they will qualify for the round of 16.
Whether this PSG team can actually go all the way and win the Champions League is another matter, but with Mbappé’s contract due to expire at the end of the season and the France forward showing no inclination to sign a new one — he will be free to negotiate with any club outside of France from January 1 — this really feels like his final attempt at delivering the one trophy that has eluded PSG since they were transformed by the arrival of Qatari owners in 2011.
When Mbappé signed for PSG after a sensational breakthrough season with Monaco in 2017, he arrived at the club shortly after Neymar had become the world’s most expensive player by leaving Barcelona for Paris in a €222 million transfer. PSG were a team of stars and Mbappé and Neymar were added to the likes of Edinson Cavani, Angel di Maria, Thiago Silva and Marco Verratti with the sole objective of winning the Champions League.
But all of those big names have now moved on — Lionel Messi has also been and gone — and all PSG have to show for it is a losing final against Bayern Munich in 2020. The Champions League continues to elude PSG and Mbappe won’t hang around forever in a vain attempt to win it, especially when he surveys a squad that no longer has the quality or charisma of the one he joined.
Howe, while hitting out at the decision to award Paris Saint-Germain a last-gasp penalty that denied his team an important Champions League win over the French club on Tuesday, said, “In my opinion, it wasn’t the right decision.”
Continuing in a pre match conference, he said, “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.”