Kevin de Bruyne the assist king, Tottenham come of age in Turin: Seven Deadly Stats from Tuesday's Champions League games

Aditya Devavrat 08:00 14/02/2018
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Kevin de Bruyne racked up another assist, but this was Tottenham's night.

The first matchday of the Champions League knockout stages has left two Premier League sides in the ascendancy heading into the second leg of their ties.

Manchester City steamrollered Basel for a 4-0 away win, but the result of the night was Tottenham getting a 2-2 draw at Juventus, coming back from 2-0 down at the home of last year’s runners up. That tie could still go either way, but Spurs are in the driver’s seat thanks to their two away goals.

Here are Seven Deadly Stats from Tuesday night’s games.

HIGUAIN’S SURPRISE SALVO

Gonzalo Higuain has been much maligned, unfairly, for failing to turn up in the big games. But he went some way to restoring his reputation during last year’s Champions League semi-final, scoring two goals in the first leg, and then he took to the pitch on Tuesday and played like a man possessed in staking Juventus to a two-goal lead.

He and Juventus may end up rueing his missed penalty, as well as one other glorious chance he missed when the home side were still 2-0 up, but his opening salvo was a reminder of his quality.

KANE EQUALS ENGLAND RECORD

Steven Gerrard scored seven goals in the 2008-09 Champions League campaign for Liverpool. Nine years later, and someone else has finally managed to equal that mark, as Harry Kane scored his seventh for this campaign on Tuesday night.

His next one could be vital. If he were to hit his eighth in the second leg of this tie, it would go a long way to ensuring Tottenham can complete their win over Juventus.

BETTER THAN THE BEST?

Not only did he equal Gerrard’s scoring record, Kane also put himself in exalted company with his goal. 

Actually, to be more accurate, he put himself above an esteemed list of players – no player in Champions League history can match Kane’s goal tally after nine matches. 

SPURS ATTACK PASSES JUVENTUS TEST

Spurs being drawn against Juventus had shades of last year’s Champions League semi-final, which pit Juventus against Monaco. Back then, the Serie A champions handed a youthful, thrilling attacking side a lesson, giving Monaco’s youngsters a dose of reality as the French side’s vaunted attack was left looking rather toothless.

This Spurs side is a little more grizzled than last year’s Monaco, but the similarities are there, and many predicted Tottenham would have similar struggles against Juventus. So coming back from 2-0 down at the home of the Italian giants is a truly special feat.

YOU’RE A WIZARD, KEVIN

It’s only February, and Kevin de Bruyne is now one assist away from 20 across all competitions. He’s already gunning for the Premier League record – incidentally, also 20; De Bruyne is on 14 – but his brilliance is being put on display wherever the Belgian graces the pitch. 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A SEASON MAKES

Everyone knew Manchester City underperformed last season, but just how stark is the difference? Having gotten used to his surroundings, Pep Guardiola has galvanised his side, and they look completely different to the erratic, disorganised team that took to the pitch last year.

The results are there for all to see.

KYLE DRIBBLER

Crucial to City’s success this season has been the play of their full-backs, especially Kyle Walker. Guardiola has taken a player who was already known for his speed and attacking talent and maximised those abilities, without compromising City’s defence. 

On nights like Tuesday, when Walker doesn’t have to defend much as City dominated an overmatched opponent, the right-back gets to have some fun. 

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