By Tim Stannard
While almost every other game witnessed a deluge of golden goals from all angles on Wednesday in the Champions League, it was a more staid affair in the picturesque location of Bruges, Belgium. The city was seeing the first shoots of a formidable forward three on paper with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar all playing together for the first time.
But for the moment, the potential of this posse of powerful poachers remains on paper rather than on the pitch with the now free-scoring Ander Herrera coming up with PSG's goal in the 1-1 draw at Bruges.
Instead, the front three showed that soccer is not a video game with Mauricio Pochettino admitting that instant results cannot be expected in terms of teamwork, despite the players' individual brilliance. "They need playing time to get to know and understand each other; to play together to succeed," said the PSG boss after the draw where Messi was subbed off in the second half having picked up a rare booking.
After a run of five wins against more modest opposition for PSG in Ligue 1 - Troyes, Strasbourg, Brest, Reims and Clermont Foot, Bruges was the first big test of the season. But the test was not passed.
An even tougher one awaits on Sunday with Lionel Messi getting his chance to score his first goal for PSG in his first match in Paris against visiting Lyon. "We know we have to do much better," opined Poch.
👉 Catch PSG vs. Lyon live on Sunday on beIN SPORTS at 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PM. 📺⚽️🇫🇷
UEFA unveils something worse than the Europa League
Those good people at European soccer HQ have found a whole new tournament for Sports Burst to get snooty about on the occasional Thursday. It used to be the Europa League which is now so last year. Instead, it's the UEFA Conference League which begins its first ever group stages today.
If the Champions League is like playing at Coachella, and the Europa League is a gig at a roadhouse bar in Kentucky, then the UEFA Conference League is busking.
That's not to say that busking can't pick up an audience and be wholly entertaining. One of the best renditions of 'Losing My Religion' was once performed outside a Starbucks in the suburbs of Sydney in 2004.
The idea of the Conference League is for the less glamorous clubs in Europe to have a shot at continental soccer. Like plucky Tottenham who will be visiting Rennes today as Harry Kane assesses his career choices. While that may get a few views, Sports Burst's pick of the week is Jablonec vs. Cluj.