Paris Saint-Germain were held to a 1-1 draw away at Club Brugge on Wednesday night, as the Parisians’ Champions League campaign got off to a disappointing start.
Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe started alongside each other for the first time since the former’s shock summer arrival, and although there were moments of promise between the trio, they failed to consistently break their opponents down.
The hosts began promisingly and looked threatening on the counter. However, they were punished for a defensive lapse inside 15 minutes with Mbappe motoring down the left wing before cutting the ball back for Ander Herrera to score his third goal in two games.
Their lead did not last long though, with Brugge fighting back just before the half-hour mark. Eduard Sobol was the architect, firing a cross-field pass to captain Hans Vanaken, who smashed the ball home.
The hosts edged the remainder of the first half too, with Vanaken stinging Keylor Navas’ palms with a free kick and Charles De Ketelaere also being denied by a good save. Messi did hit the bar for PSG, though.
After the break the visitors were dealt a blow when Mbappe was forced off with injury. Messi tried his best to make things happen as things progressed, having one powerful effort saved, but PSG were largely frustrated by their hosts – who continued to look dangerous in transition.
The best chance of the match fell to substitute Mauro Icardi late on, but he could not divert Nuno Mendes’ cross into the net. This meant the first match of the Parisians’ new era in the Champions League ended in a disappointing draw.
Here is how the PSG players involved rated in Belgium…
Keylor Navas (GK) – 7/10 – Surely he was not expecting to have to make SIX saves against Club Brugge when he woke up this morning? It was a display that makes him hard to drop for Gianluigi Donnarumma moving forward. What a messy situation that is…
Achraf Hakimi (RB) – 6/10 – Exposed defensively at times but he was important in possession. Always involved in PSG’s build-up play.
Marquinhos (CB) – 7/10 – His positioning was good and he racked up a shed-load of clearances throughout. Also impressed with his long passing.
Presnel Kimpembe (CB) – 6/10 – Spotless in possession but pulled out of the back line at times.
Abdou Diallo (LB) – 6/10 – Recovered well on several occasions and registered a game-high four tackles. Offensively he was not brilliant.
Ander Herrera (CM) – 7/10 – Timed his run to perfection to score another goal. He is getting so good at arriving late in the box.
Leandro Paredes (CM) – 5/10 – Made a terrible error in the early exchanges and can consider himself lucky that he was not sent off. Lacked the steel to screen the defence – his side missed Idrissa Gueye and Danilo Pereira for sure.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – 4/10 – Not great. He lacked his usual dynamism and needs to offer his side more as the competition progresses. Allowed Club Brugge to squeeze through.
Lionel Messi (RW) – 7/10 – Struck the bar in the first half after a terrific run and shot. Also went close after the break. All in all, a promising, if ultimately frustrating, maiden Champions League bow.
Kylian Mbappe (ST) – 7/10 – Created the first goal and caused a few problems. His injury is a real worry for Mauricio Pochettino.
Neymar (LW) – 6/10 – Looked dangerous and created a decent amount of chances. You feel he could have run at his opposite number more frequently, though.
Julian Draxler – 5/10 – He’s had better games, put it that way.
Danilo Pereira – 6/10 – Did his defensive work diligently after coming on.
Mauro Icardi – 5/10 – Missed the best chance of the half after coming on.
Nuno Mendes – 6/10 – Looked decent on the attack. Maybe should have started.