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John Stones grabs brace as dominant Man City get off to winning start

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo was influential as ever in Real Madrid’s comfortable win.

Manchester City's John Stones celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game.
Manchester City's John Stones celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game.
Image: Steven Paston

MAN 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.”

UEFA Champions League group stage results on Wednesday:

Group E

Maribor (SLO) 1 (Bohar 85) Spartak Moscow (RUS) 1 (Samedov 59)

Liverpool (ENG) 2 (Firmino 21, Salah 37) Sevilla (ESP) 2 (Ben Yedder 5, Correa 72)

Group F

Feyenoord (NED) 0 Manchester City (ENG) 4 (Stones 2, 63, Aguero 10, Jesus 25)

Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 2 (Taison 15, Ferreyra 58) Napoli (ITA) 1 (Milik 72-pen)

Group G

RB Leipzig (GER) 1 (Forsberg 33) Monaco (FRA) 1 (Tielemans 34)

Porto (POR) 1 (Tosic 21-og) Besiktas (TUR) 3 (Talisca 13, Tosun 28, Babel 86)

Group H

Real Madrid (ESP) 3 (Ronaldo 12, 51-pen, Ramos 61) APOEL (CYP) 0

Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) 3 (Son 4, Kane 15, 60) Borussia Dortmund (GER) 1 (Yarmolenko 11)

© – AFP, 2017

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