City hammer Feynoord, Spurs end Wembley curse | The Daily Star
11:48 AM, September 14, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:04 PM, September 14, 2017

City hammer Feynoord, Spurs end Wembley curse

Manchester City thrashed Dutch champions Feyenoord 4-0 as defender John Stones scored twice to get Pep Guardiola's side off to a flying Champions League start on Wednesday.

Stones headed home on two minutes after a sublime chip by skipper David Silva, and after Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus had made the win safe, the England centre-back capped off the evening with a second powerful header for a memorable brace.

"The most important thing and what pleased me the most (about the win) is the way in which we did it," said City coach Guardiola.

"We did not play back... We were aggressive... We had the legs to run on the side, especially on the right and created the chances. Enough to win the game comfortably."

To complicate matters for City however, in the other Group F game, fancied Napoli were beaten 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk.

In Rotterdam, City tore Feyenoord to pieces as hard-working midfielders Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne punched holes in the home defence, which was in all sorts of trouble on a stormy evening at a packed De Kuip.

Aguero made it 2-0 after 10 minutes when he hammered in a half-volley from a sublime cross from Kyle Walker, which flew past goalkeeper Brad Jones.

The Argentinian striker has now scored 172 goals for Manchester City and is only five short of former England international Eric Brook's all-time record of 177.

- Merciless City -

City continued their merciless onslaught, giving the hosts very little space to create chances while continuing to threaten with lightning-fast attacks down the right flank.

The weather did little to improve the fanatical Feyenoord supporters' mood, as the fans began jeering the players each time the ball was passed back to Jones, who had a busy evening.

The keeper blocked a blistering shot from Aguero which rebounded for Benjamin Mendy to take another shot, bouncing off the Australian again.

Jones could not hold on however and an unmarked Jesus performed the simple task of booting the ball into the back on the net for a debut Champions League goal.

Feyenoord regained some composure in the second half, but it did not take the visitors long to find the back of the net again, this time in the form of a blistering header by Stones from a finely-floated De Bruyne corner.

"John Stones, there is no doubt about his quality," Guardiola said.

"But he knows what the gap is to improve as a football player, he has to win the duels. When he will be able to do that he will become an exceptional centre defender."

Feyenoord sorely missed injured Danish international striker Nicolai Jorgensen.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's home side never really got going, with most shots flying wide of goal and doing very little to bother City keeper Ederson.

Ederson bravely took to the field after being injured in the face over the weekend following a collision with Liverpool's Sadio Mane.

The Brazilian sported eight stitches, a head guard and a special neck brace.

Some Feyenoord supporters started leaving the stadium before the final whistle, but most fans continued to chant slogans around the stadium as their team's return to the Champions League for the first time in 15 years ended in miserable fashion.

Van Bronckhorst conceded that his players were outgunned.

"Yes, I think so," Van Bronckhorst said when asked whether he thought Manchester City could win the Champions League.

"As I said before, it's a very good team. They have a lot of qualities, a lot of speed, they have everything to be a tough team.

"Today we were not ready for them."

Kane downs Dortmund as Spurs end Wembley woe

Harry Kane banished Tottenham Hotspur's Wembley curse as the England striker's double sealed a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

With White Hart Lane being redeveloped, Tottenham are playing their home matches at the English national stadium this season and that had been bad news for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

Already scarred by damaging Wembley defeats in the Champions League and FA Cup semi-finals last term, Tottenham had lost to Chelsea and drawn with Burnley this season, sparking alarmist talk that they were jinxed at the hallowed north London venue.

But, after losing eight of their previous 12 matches at Wembley, Kane's predatory finishing ensured Tottenham finally enjoyed a night to remember in their temporary lodgings.

Son Heung-Min's first goal of the season put Tottenham ahead early on and, although Andriy Yarmolenko conjured a sublime equaliser, it was the hosts who possessed the killer instinct thanks to Kane's latest heroics.

Kane, who scored twice in Saturday's win at Everton, restored Tottenham's advantage before the interval and wrapped up the victory with his second goal after half-time.

Tottenham's Harry Kane scores their third goal against Borussiam Dortmund. Photo: Reuters

Pitted in a tricky group that also includes holders Real Madrid, Tottenham's commanding display secured only their third win in 13 Wembley appearances and gave them an early boost in the battle for a place in the knockout stages.

The only blemish for Tottenham was a late sending off for a second bookable offence for Jan Vertonghen, who swung his forearm into Mario Gotze's face.

"It was so important to win, we are so happy. We increased our level in the second half and were very clinical," Pochettino said.

"It is more than three points. The team is more mature now. Harry Kane was fantastic."

Dortmund boss Peter Bosz added: "It's clear we weren't properly organised at the back in decisive moments.

"We didn't cover spaces behind the back four and that was crucial."

Dortmund arrived in London unbeaten so far this season, but their squad had been ravaged by injuries, with Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro, Andre Schurrle and Marcel Schmelzer among the key players sidelined.

It took Tottenham just four minutes to expose the fault lines in Dortmund's under-strength line-up as Son scored a fine individual goal.

Set free down the left flank, Son drove into the penalty area unchecked by Dortmund's defence and, with goalkeeper Roman Burki failing to guard his near post, the South Korean smashed a powerful strike into the roof of the net.

If that seemed like the perfect way for Tottenham to banish their Wembley angst, the positives vibes lasted just seven minutes.

- Carbon copy -

When Yarmolenko played a one-two with Shinji Kagawa out on the right wing, there appeared little danger, but the Ukrainian darted onto the return pass and hit a superb curling effort over Hugo Lloris and into the far corner.

Yarmolenko's bolt from the blue could have been a hammer blow for Tottenham, but they recovered their composure impressively and regained the lead in the 15th minute.

In a carbon copy of Tottenham's first goal, Kane sprinted onto a long ball down the left wing, muscled his way into the area and slammed a perfectly-placed shot past Burki, who once again left his near post fatally exposed.

Dortmund ended the half frustrated after Christian Pulisic's strike was disallowed for offside.

Pochettino's men should have wrapped up the points immediately after the break when Kane and then Son fired over with only Burki to beat from the edge of the area.

Those glaring misses almost came back to haunt Spurs when Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang volleyed home at the far post, only to see his strike controversially erased by another offside flag.

But Kane ensured Tottenham would finally taste the winning feeling at Wembley as the England forward struck again with a clinical finish in the 60th minute.

Christian Eriksen's pass found Kane unmarked 18 yards from goal and he punished Dortmund's sloppy marking by drilling a low strike that deflected past Burki's despairing dive.

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