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Messi And Mbappé Combine For 4 Goals To Cement PSG's Status As Most Feared Runner-Up

There was nothing on the line for PSG during Tuesday's Champions League group stage finale against Club Brugge with Manchester City already clinching top spot and the Parisian side locked in second, although the Belgian's harbored faint hopes of achieving a result at the Parc des Princes to qualify for the Europa League above RB Leipzig — that dream was dead inside seven minutes.  

Only two minutes in, Kylian Mbappé punished Simon Mignolet for struggling with an effort at his near post, although the 22-year-old Frenchman's finish was ice cold.

Mignolet then denied both Georginio Wijnaldum and Ángel Di María in quick succession, but PSG's second arrived in the seventh-minute after a dime from Di María was met by Mbappé on the volley.      

From there Lionel Messi's influence began. He had one shot blocked out for a corner and another saved by Mignolet, but there was no stopping this effort in the 38th-minute. As Pep Guardiola said after his stunner against City back in September, when the Argentine gets close to the ball and runs at the heart of the defense, there's no one better — he's "unstoppable" in this moment.  

Brugge offered entertainment going the other way in the first half — forcing Gianluigi Donnarumma into three saves — but PSG could've had six by the halftime whistle. 

The visitors did get a deserved goal in the 68th after Idrissa Gueye squandered possession in midfield, allowing Brugge to quickly transition before Noa Lang teed up Mats Rits for the side-footed finish. It's a goal for Keylor Navas.

Brugge's miracle comeback was halted in the 78th-minute after Messi earned a penalty and converted it himself. Mignolet just didn't want to get Panenka'd. 

That can't-miss match of the Round of 16 is going to be whichever group-winner draws PSG.

Champions League Group A Final Standings

UCL Group A standings

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