Lionel Messi has finally made his first start for Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday, 15 September 2021 but made a 1-1 draw with the club Brugge in Belgium to start their champions league campaign.
Ander Herrera gave PSG early lead at the Jan Breydal Stadium only for Hans Vanaken to equalise for the home side, who were excellent and thoroughly deserved their point.
Messi only played for just 24 minutes as substitute prior in the game.
He is still looking for his first goal for the club, although he hit the bar in the first half and tested club Brugge goalkeeper after the break before picking up a yellow card for a foul on Mats Rits.
PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino lined up his start attacking trio of Neymar, Messi and Kylian Mbappe together for the first time, but their performance was not convincing as it seems they’ve not fully understood each other.
In the second half, Mbappe came off hurt, despite building a team with the aim of winning the Champions League for the first time, have already complicated the teams chances just of making it out of a difficult group A.
Manchester City becomes the next host, the team who eliminated them in the last season’s semi finals and who began their campaign with remarkable victory of 6-3 against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
The coach said that he was pleased with effort even though it wasn’t great, adding they all need to calm down and keep working.
For all the talk of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe, were already christened the ‘MNM(Master of Non-profit Management)’ for much of this game the most impressive attackers were in the blue and black stripes of the home side.
Captain Vanaken got their goal, while Charles De Ketelaere, the young striker was a constant threat and Dutchman Noa Land got in behind Achraf Hakimi on the PSG right regularly.
Pochettino can point to absences of Angel di Maria and Idrissa Gana Gueye due to suspension as well as Marco Verratti who is injured, but his team will need to do much better in their coming European outings.
Still their evening started so well, with Mbappe turning Clinton Mata inside out before sending in a low ball from the left for the arriving Herrera to sweep home first-time in the 15th minute.
Forgetting the superstar strikers, that was the Spanish midfielder’s fourth goal in PSG’s last four games.
However, the home side were back leveled before the half-hour mark as Eduard Sobol got in behind Hakimi and cut the ball back for the unmarked Vanaken to finish.
Moments later Messi cracked a curling strike off the crossbar but Keylor Navas – preferred to Gianluigi Donnarumma in the away goal — was kept busy saving from a Vanaken free-kick and tipping over a De Ketelaere shot.
Coach Pochettino had to make changes at half-time of the game, replacing midfield duo Leandro Paredes and Georginio Wijnaldum with Danilo Pereira and Julian Draxler.
Mbappe then had to hobble off with an ankle knock six minutes into the second half.
PSG did finish the stronger of the two sides but Mignolet boxed away Messi’s shot in the 70th minute and the Argentine blazed another attempt over, as the Belgian fans celebrated the draw as though it were a victory.