It was hardly the most aesthetically pleasing of braces, but Emmanuel Dennis’ exploits in 10-man Club Brugge’s outstanding 2-2 Champions League draw at 13-time winners Real Madrid made him the only pick for Tuesday’s Carolina Herrera hero of the day.
The first of the 21-year-old’s bizarre double, via the video-assistant referee, saw him miscontrol a Percy Tau cross past the befuddled goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. For the second, the Nigerian forward stumbled when clean through and chipped the Belgium No1 despite nearly losing his footing.
A second-half fightback from the hosts would then earn a share of the spoils.
Los Blancos were expected to issue a firm retort to last month’s opening Group A-humiliation at Paris Saint-Germain.
Their nightmare start, however, extended into the first half at Santiago Bernabeu. Dennis and Tau ripped them to shreds – earning good fortune.
Madrid – whistled off at the break – required some inspiration and skipper Sergio Ramos, via VAR, headed in on 55 minutes to make it 2-1. Brazil defensive midfielder Casemiro then nodded in on 85 minutes, shortly after Ruud Vormer’s second yellow, to make it 2-2, but Real could not complete the job and remain winless after two games.
On target: 3
Pass accuracy: 57.1 per cent
Dennis smelled blood – and went straight in for the kill.
Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane’s decision to utilise a – suicidal – high defensive line played perfectly into Dennis’ hands. The 21-year-old boasts an unforgiving pace that left Ramos for dust, plus even unsettled France centre-back Raphael Varane.
He was, indeed, almost too quick for his own feet on the way to getting the second.
The second-half shimmy to confuse the retreating Varane almost led to a hat-trick, only for substitute goalkeeper Alphonse Areola’s face to deny him a spot in history.
This was a performance to make Europe’s scouts take notice.
Dennis, to pardon the pun, was an utter menace to ramshackle Madrid. The key now is to offer a consistent attacking threat, moving forwards.
Brugge have switched to a 3-5-2 formation in recent weeks and this could boost Dennis’ goalscoring column. If he does, Brugge may be happy to cash in on another leading talent in the summer.
Former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry returned to haunt their North London rivals Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League group-stage clash with four goals in a rousing 7-2 win for Bayern Munich.
The youngster broke his Champions League goal drought in some style at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium as he put the English outfit to the sword in the Group B clash.
Bayern are now top of the group with two wins in as many matches while Tottenham are languishing in the third spot after collecting just the one point so far.
“Yes of course, I’m very happy about tonight and for myself, getting four goals, my first Champions League goals, but most important is the win for the team and such a big win is a good sign for us,” Gnabry said after his masterclass.
See the full reaction from the Bayern Munich man in the video above.
Last season’s Champions League finalists were hit for an embarrassing seven goals by a rampant Bayern Munich side on Tuesday night.
Serge Gnabry ran riot at Tottenham, scoring four second-half goals to complete an extraordinary 7-2 drubbing.
Son Heung-min had opened the scoring in the 12th minute before Joshua Kimmich restored parity three minutes later. Robert Lewandowski gave the away side the lead on the stroke of half-time only and quick-fire strikes from Gnabry after the restart gave Bayern a 4-1 lead.
A Harry Kane penalty pulled one back for Spurs but Lewandowski would find the net again and Gnabry added two more to round off the scoring.
The result puts Bayern in pole position in Group B.
Here, we rate the performances of Tottenham’s players.
STARTING XI (4-3-1-2)
Lloris 4 – Criticised for errors of late but little he could do against the quality finishes from Bayern. Still, seven goals conceded.
Aurier 2 – Reckless and naive. Gnabry ran circles around him. Kept trying to push forward, leaving his side exposed.
Alderweireld 5 – Made a game-high 10 clearances. Was one of the better defenders on a horrendous night.
Vertonghen 5 – Stood by his centre-back partner and made several interventions but couldn’t cope with the assault.
Rose 4 – A couple of good crosses but was consistently double-teamed.
Winks 3 – Desperately needed to keep possession better but failed. Easily breezed past as well.
Sissoko 5 – Plenty of energy and provided an assist for the opener.
Ndombele 6 – Provided steel in midfield and even progressed the ball well at times.
Alli 3 – Utterly lacking confidence and struggled to have an impact.
Kane 6 – Played his part well and took his penalty superbly.
Son 6 – Was a nightmare for Bayern in the first half but should’ve scored more.
Eriksen (64′) 5 – Liability defensively but produced an outsanding save from Neuer.
Moura (71′) 4 – Didn’t make a mark on the game.
Lamela (81′) N/A – Barely had a touch.