Lionel Messi’s main task at Paris St-Germain will be to help deliver an elusive Champions League, but for all the fanfare surrounding the Argentina star’s first start it proved a frustrating evening as the club began their European campaign with a draw at Club Bruges.
Messi struck the crossbar but 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 scored a deserved equaliser before the break to get the 29,000-seater Jan Breydel Stadium rocking.
Messi was carded for a second-half foul and Mbappe replaced after 51 minutes as PSG found it difficult to break down the energetic hosts, who may feel they could have won the game themselves.
PSG struggled to deal with the home side’s aggressive pressing throughout and needed goalkeeper Keylor Navas to tip Charles de Ketelaere’s well-struck effort over the crossbar to keep them level.
Messi began to find more space as the Belgian side tired late on 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.”