Newcastle risk agonisingly close to paying off in PSG draw as Chelsea rue move
Newcastle shipped a heartbreaking stoppage-time equaliser to draw with Paris Saint-Germain in their penultimate Champions League group stage match. Alexander Isak gave the Magpies an early lead before Kylian Mbappe buried a penalty in the 98th minute to deny the visitors a famous win at the Parc des Princes.
Express Sport takes a look at the biggest talking points from Newcastle’s dramatic draw at the home of the French champions…
Isak goes from zero to hero
Isak certainly had a moment to forget in the early stages of the match when he blazed a simple finish over the crossbar from point blank range. The Swede was expertly picked out by Miguel Almiron in a pocket of space but somehow failed to hit the target from just a few yards out.
He only needed another 10 minutes to make amends, though, sliding the ball home to give Newcastle a surprise lead after Gianluigi Donnarumma had parried into danger. It saw Isak redeem himself and then some after his earlier miss, although Mbappe’s dramatic leveller saw the Magpies denied victory at the full-time whistle.
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Howe’s gamble nearly pays off
Eddie Howe chose to thrust Lewis Miley into Newcastle’s starting lineup for the first time after excelling on his debut against Chelsea over the weekend. The fresh-faced teenager repaid his manager’s faith on the half-hour mark when he threw himself in front of the ball to block a close-range strike from Lee Kang-in, with his inclusion paying off in the end.
Miley’s heroic intervention drew a roar of appreciation from the visiting fans, who should be very excited about the 17-year-old’s bright future at their club. He shrugged off the pressure of a huge Champions League night to deliver a strong performance, both on and off the ball, and it certainly seems as though the Magpies have a potential gem on their hands in spite of the result.
Livramento sends Chelsea reminder
Tino Livramento seems to be getting a taste for Champions League football after putting in yet another inspired showing for Newcastle. The former Chelsea man was a standout performer in last month’s defeat at Borussia Dortmund and was once again at the heart of proceedings against PSG, with his jinking run carving out the opportunity that led to Isak’s goal.
Livramento was also strong in defence and his all-round performance will serve as a costly reminder for Chelsea, who sold him to Southampton two years ago after deeming him surplus to requirements. The Blues are currently short of available options at left-back and could have done with a player of Livramento’s quality to fill the void at this moment in time.
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Pope’s greatest save yet?
Nick Pope pulled off one of his best-ever saves for Newcastle to deny Bradley Barcola a certain goal in the closing stages at the Parc des Princes. The England ace somehow tipped the ball around the post with a combination of his knee and arm, sparking groans from the home fans and wild cheers in the away end.
It marked Pope’s fifth stop of the evening but was the pick of the bunch by a country mile, especially given the context of Newcastle clinging on with all their might in the face of immense pressure. He looked calm and composed from the first whistle to the last and has every right to be proud of yet another commendable performance between the sticks.
VAR drama strikes again
The decision to hand PSG a last-gasp penalty was a dubious one to say the least, with VAR intervening after the ball was found to have struck the arm of Livramento in the box. Replays showed that it initially hit his chest before bouncing onto his arm in a sickening turn of events, leaving Livramento with no time to pull his hand away.
TNT Sports commentator Ally McCoist was enraged after the referee pointed to the spot as he fumed: “That is a shambles! Honestly, that’s not on. It hits his chest, goes off his left elbow. If that’s a penalty, we may as well give the game up!
“It’s never a penalty. We’ve been singing his praises all night. If he’s the best ref in the business, how has he given that?! There is no way that that penalty kick should be given.”
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