Szymon Marciniak faced a daunting task on Tuesday, officiating the PSG vs. Newcastle match in Paris. Regarded as one of the best Polish and global referees, Marciniak’s decision to award a highly controversial penalty to the hosts in the 95th minute sparked intense criticism from English media and fans.
Tense Moments in Group F
Emotions ran high in Group F, with Milan, PSG, Borussia, and Newcastle all vying for a spot in the Champions League Round of 16. Despite Borussia securing advancement, the outcome for the others hung in the balance.
Underdog Newcastle Resilience
Newcastle, severely depleted by injuries, faced an uphill battle against PSG, the clear favorites. Eddie Howe’s team, without a single substitution, took the lead in the second quarter, resiliently defending. However, VAR intervention and Marciniak’s controversial penalty decision in injury time led to a crucial equalizer by Kylian Mbappé.
Backlash and Criticism
Replays showed the ball initially hitting Valentino Livramento’s ribs before the hand. Critics, including former Liverpool star Michael Owen and Scottish football legend Ally McCoist, lambasted the decision. Newcastle icon Alan Shearer went further, branding Marciniak a “terrible person” and condemning the decision as “disgusting.”