Despite having nothing to play for, Paris Saint-Germain dazzled the Parc des Princes on Tuesday with a stylish 4-1 victory over Club Brugge in the Champions League.
The evening’s outcome looked set in stone from the referee’s very first whistle, as the hosts took just 70 seconds to break the deadlock. Kylian Mbappe linked well with Nuno Mendes down the left-hand side before clinically slotting home the Portuguese’s rebounded cross into Simon Mignolet’s bottom corner.
PSG’s talisman doubled his and his side’s tally soon after, volleying in Angel Di Maria’s beautifully-weighted lofted pass to pretty much seal the result inside seven minutes.
If there were any doubts about PSG’s lead, Lionel Messi squashed them in the 38th minute. The Argentinian put the visitors out of sight with a sensational effort, collecting Mbappe’s pass, dribbling towards the opposition goal and curling the ball past Mignolet from range.
Philippe Clement’s side enjoyed a resurgence after the break and got a reward for their increased intensity and creativity. Noa Lang carried the move toward the Parisian goal, before releasing Mats Rits to calmly slide past Donnarumma with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The hosts soon regained control of the contest, however, and were awarded a penalty as Messi was quite clearly clipped by Ignace van der Brempt in the box. The Argentinian stepped up and made no mistake in notching his second of the night.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men had no difficulty in seeing out the well-earned win following their fourth, condemning their visitors to a fourth-placed finish in group A.
Here’s how PSG rated on the night.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK) – 7/10 – Solid performance from the Italian, looking confident at all times and making a few really sharp stops.
Achraf Hakimi (RB) – 5/10 – Typically assured when marauding up the right-hand side but really left his defensive colleagues isolated at times.
Marquinhos (CB) – 7/10 – Read the game well and made Hakimi’s frequent absences from the ‘un-fun’ side of the game unnoticeable for the most part, showing typical composure in dangerous situations.
Abdou Diallo (CB) – 8/10 – Quick and alert throughout, showing a good defensive instinct to make six ball recoveries, eight clearances and one block.
Nuno Mendes (LB) – 7/10 – Stable on the back foot, making four ball recoveries, while also causing havoc up the left flank all evening, notably playing a large part in his side’s early opener. Disappointingly forced off through injury immediately after the interval.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – 5/10 – Made some nicely-timed darts into the penalty area and beyond the Brugge back line, although seemed largely off the pace in his overall game.
Marco Verratti (CM) – 8/10 – Top midfield performance. Smooth, progressive and classy on the ball; gritty, destructive and the perfect amount of bite off it.
Idrissa Gueye (CM) – 7/10 – Put in a tenacious shift, covering a lot of ground to provide a stifling presence when facing up against Brugge and keeping things ticking along nicely when in possession.
Angel DI Maria (RW) – 8/10 – Looked much more creative and threatening than the weekend, demonstrating his brilliant passing ability to notch two key passes – notably grabbing a wonderful assist for Mbappe’s second.
Lionel Messi (CF) – 9/10 – Floated around elusively throughout, knitting moves together, dancing around in possession and just being Messi – epitomised by his fantastically-taken strike to make it 3-0 before getting a second from the spot.
Kylian Mbappe (LW) – 9/10 – A phenomenal display in every aspect, from his link-up play and movement to his tangible output. Grabbed a brilliant assist for Messi’s strike, after notching two stunningly-taken goals of his own.
Thilo Kehrer (LB) – 6/10 – Seemed to struggle with the game’s pace after his introduction, but livened up and worked tirelessly thereafter.
Leandro Paredes (CM) -6/10
Ander Herrera (CM) – 6/10
Mauro Icardi (ST) – N/A
Eric-Junior Dina Ebimbe (CM) – N/A