Belfast Telegraph

Stones' goals down to De Bruyne as Manchester City cruise to victory

Feyenoord 0 Man City 4

By Andy Hampson

John Stones thanked team-mate Kevin de Bruyne for his assistance after scoring twice in Manchester City's 4-0 Champions League victory at Feyenoord.

Defender Stones opened the scoring after only two minutes with a header that slipped through Tonny Vilhena's legs, and it was not long before Sergio Aguero extended City's lead.

Gabriel Jesus made it 3-0, netting from close range after Benjamin Mendy's shot was parried.

Centre-back Stones then scored again for City by heading home from a De Bruyne cross after the hour mark.

Speaking alongside Belgian playmaker De Bruyne, Stones said: "I don't get on the score-sheet too much but I'm trying to bring more goals to my game.

"I'm just happy that I could help tonight. When the delivery is so good, Kevin kind of puts it on a plate for you.

"I'm trying to work as hard as I can to become better each day and keep improving as I listen to the manager's advice. I keep learning off players like Kevin."

De Bruyne said: "If you score three goals fairly early in the game it gives you more control, but I think all around we did very well.

"The last 20 minutes was a bit less good and the pitch was getting bobbly with the conditions. It was a very good game from us and a good start to the Champions League."

On the possibility he might have to sit out as City boss Pep Guardiola rotates his team, De Bruyne added: "Everybody knows we have a squad of 22 players and we want to compete in four competitions so I think we will rotate anyway.

"For me it's a pleasure to play like this because the level of all the players is so high."

Guardiola was inspired after witnessing City achieve a feat they failed to accomplish in 2016-17.

"Last season we were not able to win one away game in the Champions League, and if you want to take a step forward then we need to be important both at home and away," he said.

"Starting a competition by winning the first game away is so important."

Stones set the tone for a dominant display by claiming the opener in the second minute and the game was effectively over inside 25 minutes as Aguero and Jesus struck.

Stones' second just after the hour wrapped up the victory and left City looking strong already in Group F ahead of back-to-back home games against Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli.

It proved a good night to reintroduce Ederson to the action. The goalkeeper played wearing protective headgear after his nasty collision with Liverpool's Sadio Mane last weekend but he was hardly tested.

City simply swept Feyenoord away in a spellbinding opening half-hour that must have delighted manager Pep Guardiola.

Their movement was outstanding and the hosts were caught out numerous times by their one-touch passing.

The first goal came by more robust means, however, as Stones planted a firm header onto a David Silva cross following a short corner.

City were clearly in the mood and Jesus almost doubled the lead moments later with a looping header that was cleared off the line by Eric Botteghin.

Feyenoord were left chasing shadows as City doubled the lead after 10 minutes. Neat interplay involving Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva released Kyle Walker and his perfect first-time cross was brilliantly flicked past Jones by Aguero.

Feyenoord offered little until a couple of City mistakes allowed them some possession.

One Bernardo Silva error allowed the hosts to break but Michiel Kramer's shot was deflected into the side-netting.

City's third all but wrapped the game up. Bernardo Silva had a shot blocked and Benjamin Mendy's thumping follow-up effort was parried by Jones, falling invitingly to Jesus.

He snaffled the chance as Feyenoord stood still, mistakenly believing that the Brazilian was offside.

Such was City's dominance they might even have had another before the break as Aguero rifled an effort just wide.

The second half saw City go through the motions. Perhaps already looking ahead to Saturday's trip to Watford, Guardiola took off Aguero on the hour and replaced him with Raheem Sterling.

The fourth goal came soon after. De Bruyne played a one-two with David Silva from a corner and curled in a delightful cross for Stones to head in his second.

Feyenoord: Jones, St Juste, Botteghin, Van Der Heijden, Nelom, Amrabat (Larsson, 78 mins), El Ahmadi, Vilhena, Berghuis (Toornstra, 46 mins), Kramer (Vente, 71 mins), Boetius. Unused subs: Bijlow, Diks, Tapia, Geertruida.

Man City: Ederson, Stones, Fernandinho (Sane, 72 mins), Otamendi, Walker, Bernardo Silva (Delph, 67 mins), Silva, De Bruyne, Mendy, Gabriel Jesus, Aguero (Sterling, 60 mins). Unused subs: Bravo, Danilo, Gundogan, Mangala.

Man of the match: John Stones

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)

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