Bruges deluged by Mbappé and Messi during PSG stroll

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  • Lionel Messi
    Lionel Messi
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Mauricio Pochettino
    Mauricio Pochettino
    Argentine association football player and manager
  • Kylian Mbappé
    Kylian Mbappé
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

Paris Saint-Germain completed the group stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night with a 4-1 dismissal of Club Bruges.

The victory - courtesy of a brace from Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi - was purely ceremonial. Mauricio Pochettino's men will progress to the knockout stages of the competition as runners-up in Group A behind Manchester City following their 2-1 loss on 24 November in Manchester.

Despite the lack of stakes, Pochettino fielded a strong side containing Mbappé to Messi's left and Angel Di Maria on his right.

Bruges famously had the better of the game in September in Belgium when Neymar was part of PSG's so-called Fantastic Four.

That match ended in a 1-1 draw and a torrent of complaints over PSS's lack of balance.

Progress

Three months on and qualification to the last 16 assured, there was a relaxed relentlessness about PSG.

Their third goal illustrated as much.

Mbappé picked up the ball in his own half and simply pushed it past a defender. The France international galloped to collect it - leaving a flapping trio in is wake - and swung a pass over to an unattended Messi in the centre.

A familiar vignette ensued. Messi surged forward as defenders back-pedalled. The 34-year-old feinted to the right but the ball was suddenly on his left foot and arrowing into the right hand side of Simon Mignolet's net.

Sumptuous. A signature strike to warm the hearts of the faithful on a rain lashed night at the Parc des Princes. 3-0 after 38 minutes and game effectively over.

Unsurprisingly, Bruges exhibited more mettle after the pause. Mats Rits finished off a sweeping counterattack to reduce the deficit after 68 minutes.

But the three-goal advantage was soon restored. Ignace Van Der Brempt felled Messi in the penalty area and the Argentine stepped up for the spot kick.

Last month Messi chipped the ball into the centre of the goal - a Panenka - as the Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi dived to his left.

Banking on a repeat, Mignolet did not move as Messi ran up. The ball whizzed into the net low to his left.

Messy business goalkeeping.

With RB Leipzig beating Manchester City 2-1, the Germans advanced to the Europa League. Bruges finish the campaign bottom of the pool with four points from their six games.

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