Sports Desk, Sep 15 (EFE).- New acquisition Lionel Messi’s first start for Paris Saint-Germain alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe failed to create the expected fireworks Wednesday as Club Brugge held the mighty French side 1-1 in the Champions League kickoff for both teams.
Neither Messi, who scored 120 goals in 149 Champions League appearances for FC Barcelona, nor Neymar was able to make an impact, while Mbappe left the pitch with an injury early in the second half.
Cheered on by 28,000 supporters at Jan Breydel stadium in Bruges, the hosts started with plenty of energy, yet PSG went ahead in the 15th minute on a goal by Ander Herrera, who found the bottom corner after a low cross into the box from Mbappe.
Brugge battled back and pulled level in the 27th with Hans Vanaken’s goal, assisted by Eduard Sobol.
Only the cross-bar prevented Messi from restoring the advantage for PSG in the 29th minute.
Keylor Navas was impressive denying Vanaken on free-kick in the 33rd and tipping a strike from Charles de Ketelaere over the bar minutes later.
The PSG goalkeeper was pressed into action again early in the second half to handle a shot from Noa Lang and counterpart Simon Mignolet proved up to stopping a Messi strike in the 70th minute.
The Argentine later sent an effort over the net before Mauro Icardi – Mbappe’s replacement – inexplicably missed the target and the deadlock endured until the final whistle.
Taking a point each, PSG and Club Brugge are 2 points behind Group A leaders Manchester City, 6-3 winners Wednesday over RB Leipzig. EFE jaf/dr