Highly anticipated, Paris Saint-Germain will hardly have shone for its great European debut. Worse, Messi and his family vacillated against a great team from Club Brugge, who made a good copy to bite a point against the self-appointed favorite of this new version of the Champions League. Paris will have to show a lot more in two weeks against Manchester City.
Club Bruges 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain
Buts: Vanaken (27e) for Bruges // Herrera (16e) for PSG
A month of fantasies, of tactical systems, each crazier than the next with stars in their eyes … A month of imagining this moment, which finally took place for Paris Saint-Germain to enter the Ligue des champions on the lawn of Bruges. Kylian Mbappé, Neymar and therefore Léo Messi were well established at the kickoff, and nothing or almost nothing happened as expected, despite an obvious desire of the three fellows to combine together. Because despite a quick opening of the scoring by the now inevitable Ander Herrera, Paris was pushed in by the Belgian youth, displaying limits that we know him only too well. Consequence: Mauricio Pochettino and his men rally the capital with a single point in their suitcases. Not the best of operations.
Finally, Paris Saint-Germain made classic at the Jan-Breydel stadium. A Leandro Paredes in his works and very close to the correctional (13e), a block tossed around every time the intensity rises to the Champions League level, and an individual feat to find the loophole. By Kylian Mbappé, for a change. The French genius makes the defense of Bruges dance to put Herrera in orbit for the Basque midfielder’s fourth goal of the season (0-1, 16e). Very close to doubling the bet on a passing delight from Lionel Messi (23e), Kyky then watched from afar his team back down and even suffer on some actions, including the right side where Achraf Hakimi saw Sobol tumble down his lane to offer the equalizer to Vanaken (1-1, 27e). Second burst of the flea in these first 45 minutes: a magnificent strike which fails on the square (29e). But by dint of defending seven, this PSG plays – as too often – to scare itself, whether on this free kick from Vanaken (33e), or this strike signed De Ketelaere slammed by Navas (39e).
Marco, come back!
Obviously very unhappy with his midfield, Pochettino sends Draxler and Danilo to break the pipe from the start, without much effect: the absences of Verratti and a Gueye in great shape this season weigh heavily. Paris is incapable of creating anything. And continues to be afraid in front of Noa Lang (48e) then Hendry, very close to concluding a superb collective action (49e). And as the shits always fly in squadrons, Mbappé must leave his friends, hit in the left ankle, replaced by a totally transparent Icardi. The minutes tick away, and PSG exceeds 30 minutes without attempting a strike. Series interrupted by Messi, shifted in the area by Neymar, but Mignolet does not intend to remain in history as the first to have conceded a goal from the Argentinian with the Parisian jersey (70e). Lang tries a kickback from elsewhere (74e), Nuno Mendes makes speak his capacity of dazzling acceleration from his entry, and Mauro Icardi tangles the brushes in the surface. The men of the capital may try, nothing works. Hoping not to pay it in December, when it’s time to do the accounts.
Club Bruges (3-5-2): Mignolet – Mata, Hendry, Nsoki – Sowah (Maouassa, 90e+2), Zipper, Vanaken, Balanta, Sobol – De Ketelaere, Lang. Coach: Philippe Clement.
PSG (4-3-3): Navas – Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo (Nuno Mendes, 75e) – Herrera, Paredes (Danilo, 46e), Wijnaldum (Draxler, 46e) – Messi, Mbappé (Icardi, 51e), Neymar. Coach: Mauricio Pochettino.
By Tom Binet