There was no miracle from Messi on Wednesday night, as it proved a frustrating evening with the club beginning their European campaign with a draw at Club Bruges.
While he did strike the crossbar, Messi, who made his 150th appearance in the competition, struggled to make a serious impact on his full debut and it was instead Ander Herrera who netted the opener after great work down the left from Kylian Mbappe.
Hans Vanaken netted a well-deserved equaliser before half-time to get the 29,000-seater Jan Breydel Stadium roaring with excitement.
PSG found it difficult to break down the energetic hosts, who may feel they could have won the game themselves. Messi was carded for a second-half foul and Mbappe was replaced after only 51 minutes. PSG struggled to deal with an aggressive home-side, who pressed the ball well throughout, and the French side needed goalkeeper Keylor Navas to tip Charles de Ketelaere’s well-struck shot over the crossbar to keep to maintain a draw.
Messi started to find more space, and looked like scoring at times as the Belgian side tired late on in the game, but the 34-year-old was unable to unpick the Bruges defence, leaving boss Mauricio Pochettino to ponder how to get the best out of his all-star front three.
“We need time to work for them to build an understanding,” said Pochettino. “That’s been clear and we’ve said that in recent days. We still have to create a team.”
The final whistle was met with roars from the home crowd, who were delighted at stopping PSG in their tracks. The celebrations continued as Oasis tracks were blasted out around the stadium as fans promised not to forget such a memorable night.
“We needed more consistency and more fluidity. We made too many mistakes,” Pochettino explained. “But despite all this, I’m satisfied with the players. We have to keep calm and keep working.”