Well, this is it. After a lot of waiting, Lionel Messi finally embarks on his conquest to a 5th Champions League trophy with his full debut for PSG against Club Brugge. However, the Belgian side spoilt the party – holding PSG to a 1-1 draw and not allowing Messi to get a goal or assist in his much-anticipated first UCL outing for PSG.
With all eyes being on Messi, it was midfielder Ander Herrera who gave PSG the lead with a smart finish from inside the area in the 16th minute.
However, Club Brugge were not going down without a fight and got their equalizer in the 27th minute – when captain Hans Vanaken finished off an impressive move to make it 1-1!
Surprisingly, PSG had no answer to that! They might’ve enjoyed 64% of the possession, but Leo Messi often looked second-best to a courageous Brugge side and had to settle for a draw.
This result obviously doesn’t do much good for PSG’s hopes for winning their group, meaning they must win the matches against Man City & RB Leipzig to do so going forward.
Here are your PSG player ratings vs Club Brugge.
PSG Player Ratings vs Club Brugge
Mauricio Pochettino (5.0) –
Pochettino did not waste the chance to start the golden trio of Messi-Neymar-Mbappe in this one, but clearly his instructions to them weren’t good enough to produce the fireworks. Pochettino couldn’t help PSG crack the code through Brugge’s defence today & his side were mostly too predictable with their attacking moves.
He relied a little too much on Messi on the day, which did not pay off. This will be a disappointing draw for Pochettino, but he’ll hope to learn from this & soon figure out how to get the very best of his menacing trio as the season moves on.
Keylor Navas (7.0) –
Navas couldn’t really do much to save Vanaken’s powered, deflected goal but pulled off an excellent save to deny him from scoring a free-kick in the 33rd. Makes another sharp save to deny a potential goal in the 38th. Navas came up with quite a few important saves to ensure his side weren’t in for a shock today.
Achraf Hakimi (6.0) –
Hakimi’s another UCL debutant for PSG today and is making some terrorizing forward runs. However, he was caught out of position leading up to the goal – allowing the cross to be sent in for Vanaken to score. Hakimi’s attacking work was undoubtedly quite good, but has to improve his defensive work going forward.
Marquinhos (7.0) –
Marquinho was dragged out of his position for Brugge’s equalizer and was unable to stop the cross from coming in. Settled down after that and helped maintain composure in the box, making some important clearances to save his side from conceding more. Probably his side’s most compelling defender on the day.
Presnel Kimpembe (4.5) –
The French defender was partly at fault for Brugge’s equalizer, as he was unable to block Vanaken’s shot and actually help divert it past Navas with a deflection. Quite error-prone all game long and was very shaky against Brugge’s attacks. Might struggle to keep his place once Sergio Ramos is back.
Abdou Diallo (7.0) –
The young left-back makes a good forward pass to send Mbappe through to assist the opener. Kept things relatively quiet by his side and maintained composure in the defence under pressure. Subed late on for the more attack-minded Nuno Mendes.
Leandro Paredes (4.5) –
The aggressive midfielder was lucky not to get sent off in the 12th minute after blatantly stopping a Club Brugge player from going through to score a goal – instead only getting a yellow. Couldn’t do anything to help PSG dominate the midfield battle & couldn’t stop Brugge’s midfielders from overpowering his midfield. Subbed at half-time.
Ander Herrera (8.0) –
The former Man United man steals Messi’s thunder early on, brilliantly sneaking into the box before powering a left-footed shot into the back of the net. An extremely industrious figure for PSG after that, moving all over the midfield & adding spark to their style. Had a 90% passing accuracy, won 7 key duels, 3 tackles and 2 interceptons. Managed to outshine Messi on his big day!
Gini Wijnaldum (4.5) –
Wijnaldum makes his UCL debut for PSG too today. Had a debut to forget as he was really troubled by Brugge’s energetic midfielders and lost many key duels, with his 93% passing accuracy being the only real saving grace. Taken off at half-time after looking nervous all game long.
Lionel Messi (7.0) –
As surreal as it might feel like, but Messi finally makes his first start for PSG. Looking dangerous with his movement early on. Makes an excellent defence-splitting pass to set up a chance for Mbappe in the 23rd. Then almost pulled off something special in the 29th – but unlucky to see his excellent curler hit the bar!
Grew more influential in the second half, carrying the ball forward & creating some stuff in the attack. Booked for a rash challenge in the 72nd! Got a huge chance to score a trademark goal from close range in the 77th, but surprisingly skied his shot over. Could’ve had an assist/goal on another day, but Messi’s wait continues for his first goal contribution for PSG.
Neymar (4.5) –
Neymar looks a tad too eager to create something special with his old-buddy Messi & that probably stopped him from creating special things in the first half. Couldn’t create a chance, didn’t get a shot on goal and was dispossessed 4 times. A disappointing outing by his standards.
Kylian Mbappe (7.0) –
PSG’s in-form star is terrorizing the defenders with his fizzy forward runs. Makes a slick run past a defender before picking out Herrera perfectly for his goal. Latched onto Messi’s pass well in the 23rd, but his shot was saved really well. Picked up an injury from a rash challenge and had to be subbed in the second half.
Julian Draxler (5.5) –
Draxler couldn’t really produce much in the final third and opted to make the simplest of passes to just keep the game ticking in the second half.
Danilo Pereira (6.5) –
The Portuguese defensive midfielder definitely did a better role protecting his defence than Paredes, making timely challenges and also getting the ball forward well.
Mauro Icardi (5.0) –
Icardi came on for the injured Mbappe and had a few chances to score the winner, but ended up scuffing both close-range efforts to frustrate Pochettino’s side.
Nuno Mendes (N/R) –
Mendes almost make instant impact after coming on, making a brilliant forward run to set up a big chance for Messi in the 77th. Then made another great cross to set up another chance minutes later.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Herrera was the real livewire for PSG today, scoring a great goal & acting as their midfield engine. He gets the MOTM award today.