December 07, (THEWILL) – Paris Saint Germain thrashed Club Brugge 4-1 to all but end the Belgians’ hopes of qualifying for the Europa League.
The lethal duo of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé each scored a brace for PSG to finish second in the group, a point behind leaders Manchester City.
At their Parc des Princes grounds in Paris, the home team got off to a flying start, leading 2-0 after only seven minutes. Mbappé took advantage of Simon Mignolet’s poor parry to open the scoring in the second minute with his 30th goal in the UEFA Champions League.
The second goal was Mbappé’s again as the French forward hammered a low volley past Mignolet after receiving an inch-perfect ball from Angel Di Maria.
The visitors had a few chances of their own, but were down 3-0 before halftime after Mbappé found Messi, who curled a typical yet spectacular strike from outside the area into the corner.
In the second period, Brugge generated a slew of chances, and Mats Rits’ first-time shot was enough to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma in between the PSG sticks for a goal to the visitors.
However, as is customary for Messi, he had the final say, winning a penalty after his ankle was clipped in the Brugge area, which he dutifully converted for his sixth goal of the season and second of the match.
Messi was instrumental in sustaining PSG’s dominance throughout the game, but it was Kylian Mbappé who had established it in the first place. Within seven minutes, the France striker had two goals, three shots on target, an assist, three vital passes, and two fouls won, demonstrating exactly how amazing he is and will be for a long time.
When he got the ball, the Brugge defenders fell five yards, and he was always looking for that hat-trick-clinching score, which unfortunately did not materialise.
Mauricio Pochettino has been chastised for his team’s style of play in comparison to previous PSG teams, with newspaper sources claiming that even Messi was concerned about his compatriot’s tactical competence for a team like PSG.
But the first half display was the perfect response, with three goals and some fantastic, fast-paced game, all without Neymar, who is nursing an injury. Yet, after the recent setback to Man City and draws against Marseille, Nice, and Lens, questions persist regarding how Pochettino’s PSG will fare against sides better than Brugge down the line.