Paris Saint-Germain retained control of their Champions League destiny as a last-gasp penalty from Kylian Mbappe rescued a crucial point in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United this evening.
The Premier League side travelled to Parc des Princes aware of the consequences of defeat, which played a part in their tactical set-up from the outset.
The Magpies set up in a low block, looking to soak up pressure from the Ligue 1 champions and hit them on the counter when the opportunity arose.
However, their tactical decision nearly came back to bite them, with Ousmane Dembele looking dangerous whenever he got on the ball down the right flank.
The ex-Barcelona man created chances for Les Parisiens, but Lee Kang-in and Fabian Ruiz were guilty of spurning goalscoring opportunities while Nick Pope produced a superb save to deny Mbappe.
It didn’t take long for Newcastle to grow into the game, and they nearly broke the deadlock after Miguel Almiron teed up Alexander Isak in the box, but the Swedish striker failed to hit the target with a first-time effort.
However, he atoned for that miss in the 24th minute, pouncing on a loose ball in the box to fire past Gianluigi Donnarumma after the former AC Milan goalkeeper spilt Almiron’s shot from the edge of the box.
Newcastle got the goal they desperately needed as it temporarily elevated them into a top-two spot, but they still had to keep Luis Enrique’s men at bay.
PSG ramped up the pressure with Dembele embarking on a terrific solo run and nearly capped off a sensational move with a goal, but Pope denied the Frenchman with a fingertip save.
Newcastle preserved their first-half lead and kept PSG quiet in the opening period of the second half, forcing Enrique to switch things up on the hour mark.
Bradley Barcola nearly levelled matters merely minutes after entering the fray, but his effort from point-blank range was expertly denied by Pope, who refused to be beaten in Newcastle’s goal.
With time running out for PSG to snatch an all-important equaliser, Les Parisiens launched waves of unrelenting attack but were repeatedly thwarted by a combination of poor finishing and Pope.
Dembele once again came close to drawing the French champions level, but he spurned a guilt-edged chance, failing to hit the target from point-blank range, while Mbappe also came within inches of netting.
Newcastle seemed poised to snatch a pulsating win at the home of the French heavyweights, but PSG were handed a lifeline in stoppage time when Tino Livramento was penalised for handling the ball in the box.
Mbappe converted from the penalty spot, beating Pope, whose man-of-the-match performance ultimately wasn’t enough to help the Magpies secure a win.
Despite the heartbreaking finale, Newcastle still have all to play for in their final Group F clash against Milan, who sit bottom of the pile, level on points with the Magpies.
A draw will be no good to either side in the must-win encounter, while Newcastle will hope already qualified Borussia Dortmund lend them a helping hand when they welcome PSG to Signal Iduna Park.
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