The world's best referee gave us the world's worst penalty decision and Newcastle were robbed of an epic double over Kylian Mbappe and his Paris superstars.

However even Szymon Marciniak's unbelievable clanger has not confined United to Champions League history - beat AC Milan in the bearpit that will be St James' Park and Paris Saint-Germain will have to win in Dortmund or United are through to the knock-out stages of the Europe's blue chip competition.

Certainly the very least they are surely bound for is the Europa League which would rightly leave us feeling mightily aggrieved but one thing is for sure. United are not about to give up on continental football just yet. Not by a long, long way.

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I said earlier in the season that this squad doesn't know the meaning of fear. Or of failure. Anger and disappointment yes but they never salute the other two words.

Marcinliak has taken charge of all football's biggest global games and had officiated magnificently in France's capital until eight minutes into injury time when against all that is fair and logic he saw via VAR's TV screen what no one else saw. The ball hit Tino Livramento's chest and rolled on to his arm. If that is a penalty then the game may as well become a lucky dip.

I mean are the gods against United? Are they expected to beat mountainous odds every time they walk on to the grass? Where is Lady Luck? Can someone please find her? United have been penalised across every single game of late by a growing list of enforced absentees as long as Hadrian's Wall.

The stepping stones to crushing disappointment were well signposted in Paris even before the kick off . . . Botman, Wilson, Willock, Tonali, Longstaff, Burn, Barnes, Murphy, Targett, Anderson, Manquillo. That is a whole team out and when replacements were at a premium Krafth and Ritchie were not allowed to help.

It meant the butter was spread desperately thin on the toast as far as United's back up bench was concerned: a couple of keepers with only one PL start between them in two seasons (Dubravka and Karius); a 32-year-old with no league starts in the last two campaigns (Dummett); a teenager on loan (Hall); and three kids fresh out of football's nursery (Ndiweni, Huntley and Parkinson). Short on numbers and non existent on game changers.

Against all that PSG went into opposition boosted by six successive victories at the Parc des Princes as well as European royalty like Mbappe. A potentially potent combination.

It was like trying to drive a steamroller up Everest. A level playing field next time would be appreciated. An even chance as opposed to a whopping handicap.

Yet somehow United's unflagging courage carried them to the very brink of success. Legs which felt a ton weight were dragged manfully towards the finish line until deep in added on time the referee blew his sky high reputation as well as his whistle. I hope he gets a gift card for Specsavers or Vision Express for Christmas!

Normally an injury list which hits double figures finishes a club yet while we wait anxiously for a mass return to action of the hobbling wounded the enforced changes have brought us two young superstars.

Tino Livramento is as smooth as silk and as cool as an ice cube. He has surely confined Dan Burn to a place on the subs' bench when the big Geordie is fit again. Burn simply hasn't the tools, the elegance, the forward threat, to deny Livramento his place.

Never mind the penalty. It wasn't one. Think of Tino's magnificence on United's goal and his overall display. The other young boy to rise from the injury rubble is Lewis Miley. His two displays this week starting in the Premier League and the Champions League have been of top order. What a player United have on their hands.

While praising young lions I feel I cannot ignore an old head who ran his blood to water. Miggy Almiron was a warrior of stirring spirit.

Such was the dearth of options on United's bench that despite exhausted limbs and bodies crying out for a rest Eddie Howe brought on not a single sub which is unheard of under normal tactics. How these 11 heroes who started against Chelsea and PSG can rise again from their darkened room to go one more time when Manchester United arrive on Saturday night I know not.

I salute every single one of them. My heart goes out to them and to Eddie and his backroom team. Miracles are becoming commonplace but ought not to be taken for granted. Surely, surely United's luck is about to change big style.

Surely some will return and no more will leave the battleground. Surely Dortmund will not stack their hand against PSG because they have already qualified and in front of their own fans will be proud enough to go for a victory to top the group with a swagger.

Europe, we are not done with you yet. Milan, we will be ready. Just give us enough bodies and a referee with a brave and unerring eye and the job will be done.

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