Kevin De Bruyne's hat-trick of assists in vain as Spurs stun Manchester City

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Manchester City and Tottenham provided the footballing community with arguably the best game of the season, sharing a total of seven goals in an epic Champions League tie.

Trailing by one goal from the first leg, City needed to win this tie by two goals to ensure Spurs didn’t progress on away goals.

Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero were among the goal-scorers for City, with Kevin De Bruyne bagging a hat-trick of assists.

We take a deeper look at his performance.

KEY STATS

Minutes: 90

Goals: 0

Assists: 3

Shots (on target): 3 (2)

Passes (success rate): 38 (84.2%)

Successful dribbles: 3

Key-passes: 4

30-SECOND REPORT

When it looked like things were going City’s way, it was De Bruyne who was constantly creating the threat through his needle-threading passes.

The Belgian did almost everything well; he was winning duels, completing dribbles with ease and even tested Hugo Lloris with a couple of promising hits.

He had earlier revealed how he enjoys a great partnership with Sterling off the pitch. Their chemistry on it deserves a shout too. De Bruyne assisted Sterling twice and was linking up beautifully with the Englishman.

GOT RIGHT

De Bruyne’s eye for a pass is clearly one of his strongest suits and the best version of that was on display against Spurs. Picking the best of the Belgian’s three assists on the night is no easy task.

For his first, he set Sterling into space, allowing the Englishman to drift inwards and slot home. The fact that he did it with a lot of Spurs bodies around him made it all the more impressive.

To set up Sterling’s second and City’s third, De Bruyne delivered a perfect pass across the face of the goal, ahead of a bunch of Spurs and City players and right into the path of Sterling at the far post. The winger finished the move with a sublime touch past Lloris.

He finished the hat-trick of assists by setting up Aguero with a splendid run past three Spurs players.

The Belgian completed the night with four key passes, clearly outranking David Silva as the major source of creativity.

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne was imperious yet City crashed out.

VERDICT

Compared to the absolute beast he was last season, De Bruyne has had a pretty tame season. In his defence, the Belgian was out with injury for a good part and had his performances took a dip.

But against Spurs, he showed exactly what he is capable of. The midfielder was arguably the best player for City, perhaps even the best player on the pitch, showing that he’s capable of performing on the biggest stage.

City failed to make it to the semi-final of the Champions League yet again, but they still have the FA Cup final and the Premier League title to play for. Performances like these in the league can help City achieve the domestic treble.

An in-form De Bruyne will be extremely crucial for Pep Guardiola’s men in the concluding stages of the season.

Rating: 8/10

Most popular

A look at the rise of surprise Champions League package Ajax

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Ajax are the surprise package of this season’s Champions League following their march to the semi-finals.

After hammering holders Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the previous round, Erik Ten Hag’s brilliant young side knocked out Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus with another stunning win in Turin.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the secrets of their success.

COACH

Ten Hag’s first managerial job was with Go Ahead Eagles in 2012, before moving to Bayern Munich II between 2013 and 2015. The Bayern first team were led by Pep Guardiola at this time and the Spaniard’s influence on Ten Hag is evident.

A return to his homeland saw the Dutchman exceed all expectations at Utrecht with back-to-back top-five Eredivisie finishes and Europa League qualification. He was appointed Ajax boss in December 2017.

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag.

Ajax boss Erik ten Hag.

RISING STARS

Frenkie De Jong and Matthijs De Ligt are among the brightest prospects in European football and form part of the crop of young talents coming through at Ajax.

Barcelona have already snapped up De Jong, the midfielder set to join the Spanish champions on a five-year contract for €75million in the summer.

Captain De Ligt looks like he could be the next to leave, with the likes of Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Arsenal reportedly keen to sign the 19-year-old.

EXPERIENCE

Ten Hag has rejuvenated the careers of Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind, who were signed during the summer following a frustrating campaign for both men in the Premier League last season.

Former Southampton forward Tadic became just the ninth player in history to get a perfect 10 out of 10 score in L’Equipe’s infamously ruthless player ratings for his performance in Ajax’s 4-1 victory in Madrid last month.

Frenkie de Jong is off to Barcelona this summer.

Frenkie de Jong is off to Barcelona this summer.

STYLE OF PLAY

Guardiola’s influence is clear but Ten Hag has also been true to the Ajax way pioneered by Johan Cruyff. That philosophy has seen Ten Hag mould a vibrant and energetic team led by an exciting blend of talented youngsters and aided by a few experienced heads.

TRADITION

Installing former players who understand the club in key off-field roles has aided the resurgence of Ajax. Marc Overmars is the director of football and has been credited with playing a major role in the assembly of Ajax’s precocious side.

Meanwhile, Edwin Van Der Sar is currently working as the club’s chief executive.

Most popular

We have shown the world what we can do, says Ajax's Matthijs de Ligt

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Matthijs de Ligt scored the match-winning goal at Turin.

Matthijs de Ligt hailed Ajax‘s “unbelievable” achievement after the Dutch club ended their 22-year wait for a Champions League semi-final appearance by shocking Juventus.

Central defender De Ligt, the Ajax captain at just 19 years of age, headed the winner in a 2-1 victory in Turin – the Amsterdam club winning 3-2 on aggregate.

Ajax are the first team in Champions League history to make the semi-finals after surviving three qualifying rounds, and will now meet Manchester City or Tottenham in the last four.

“I can’t describe what kind of emotion we have at the moment,” De Ligt told BT Sport 3 after Ajax had added Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus to their list of Champions League victims, having previously eliminated holders Real Madrid.

“It’s unbelievable what we achieved, we are a squad from the Netherlands and we show the world what we can do.

“We showed it in the Bernabeu (against Madrid), we showed it against Bayern Munich (at the group stage) and now we showed it against Juventus.

Matthijs de Ligt's towering header proved to be decisive.

Matthijs de Ligt’s towering header proved to be decisive.

“But we are never satisfied and the next game is also going to be important, we’ll see what happens.

“There is so much potential in our team and we are all still young. You see us grow every game.”

Ronaldo headed Juventus into a 28th-minute lead with his 126th goal in the competition and his ninth in seven meetings against Ajax.

But Donny Van De Beek levelled six minutes later and De Ligt’s winner midway through the second half rewarded Ajax’s superiority.

“It was a great corner kick,” De Ligt said.

“I jumped and I know I can jump high and head the ball well. That was the perfect moment to score.

“We had so many chances to score at the end, it is 2-1 but it could be 3-1 or 4-1.

“The only thing we lack is that we have to score more, but that is a big compliment to us as a team.”

Ajax will definitely meet English opposition in their first Champions League semi-final since the 1996-97 season and the days of Edwin van der Sar, Jari Litmanen and Marc Overmars.

But asked whether he wanted to play City or Spurs, De Ligt said: “At the moment I don’t have any preference.

“We will see who is coming to the semi-final and then we have to show the same.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

For the very latest news, analysis and opinion download the Sport360 app

Most popular