Manchester City crush Watford 8-0

Watford’s goalkeeper Ben Foster, down, fouls Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez during Saturday’s match. (AP)
Updated 22 September 2019

Manchester City crush Watford 8-0

  • Tottenham rocked by Leicester

LONDON: Manchester City powered to their record Premier League win as the champions scored five times in the first half of an incredible 8-0 thrashing of Watford, while Leicester enjoyed a VAR-assisted 2-1 victory over Tottenham on Saturday.

Inspired by Bernardo Silva’s hat-trick, Pep Guardiola’s side ripped woeful Watford to pieces at the Etihad Stadium, eclipsing a 7-0 success against Norwich in 2013 which stood as their previous biggest top-flight win.

Although City fell one goal short of equalling the biggest Premier League margin of victory — Manchester United’s 9-0 demolition of Ipswich in 1995 — their swaggering display was the perfect way to erase the bitter taste from last weekend’s shock defeat at Norwich.

Second-placed City move to within two points of leaders Liverpool.

City had crushed Watford 6-0 in last season’s FA Cup final and, with injury-plagued left-back Benjamin Mendy making his first start since April, they picked up where they left off at Wembley with a goal inside the first minute at the Etihad Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne played a superb ball in from the right, leaving David Silva with the simple task of poking home from close range for his first goal of the season.

The champions doubled their lead in the seventh minute after Watford keeper Ben Foster conceded a penalty with a foul on Riyad Mahrez.

Sergio Aguero coolly slotted in the spot-kick for his eighth goal in six games this term, taking the Argentina striker to 100 home Premier League goals for City.

Guardiola had rested Raheem Sterling, but even without their star winger City were rampant and they made it three in the 12th minute when Mahrez’s free-kick hit Watford’s Tom Cleverley in the head and deflected past Foster.

Astonishingly, City scored again in the 15th minute, De Bruyne’s corner nodded on by Nicolas Otamendi for Bernardo to head home. By the time Otamendi finished off Aguero’s cross in the 18th minute, City had established the fastest 5-0 lead in the Premier League era.

The joint biggest half-time lead in Premier League history wasn’t enough for City and Bernardo struck again with a close-range finish after another flowing move in the 48th minute. Bernardo completed his first Premier League treble on the hour with a tap-in from De Bruyne’s cross.

De Bruyne set City’s new record mark in the Premier League when the Belgium midfielder scored the eighth in the 85th minute.

At the King Power Stadium, Leicester proved their credentials to gatecrash the top four as they came from behind to beat Tottenham.

The game swung Leicester’s way after Tottenham defender Serge Aurier’s goal midway through the second half was ruled out by the finest of margins for offside by VAR.

The hosts built on that lift immediately as Ricardo Pereira equalized before James Maddison struck the winner from long range five minutes from time.

“We’re six games in, we are not getting carried away,” said Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers. “We had a tough start but I’m so pleased with the players’ focus.”

By contrast, Tottenham have now won just two of their first seven games of the season in all competitions and Mauricio Pochettino admitted the VAR controversy had played a role in their latest flop.

Pochettino bemoaned the momentum swing given to Leicester by the long stoppage in play prior to Aurier’s strike being ruled out for an extremely marginal offside against Son Heung-min.

“The emotion of the game changed. The belief it gave to Leicester made things happen differently in the last 10 minutes,” Pochettino said.

“I’m only going to say that we all accept that system in the game and now I am not going to complain.”

Burnley beat Norwich 2-0 at Turf Moor, with New Zealand striker Chris Wood scoring in the 10th and 14th minutes.

Sheffield United piled pressure on Everton manager Marco Silva, whose side were booed off after a 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park, the damage done by Yerry Mina’s 40th-minute own goal and Lys Mousset’s 79th-minute strike.


Virus cases increase in Bundesliga after int’l break

Updated 20 October 2020

Virus cases increase in Bundesliga after int’l break

  • Other cases are causing concern that soccer may be put on hold again as Germany appears to be dealing with a second wave of the virus

BERLIN: Players are returning to the Bundesliga from international duty, and they are bringing the coronavirus with them.

Hoffenheim played Borussia Dortmund on Saturday without Andrej Kramaric and Kasim Adams after they tested positive following national team matches with Croatia and Ghana, respectively. Czech Republic defender Pavel Kaderabek was in quarantine because of a family member’s result.

Hoffenheim director of football Alexander Rosen said after the 1-0 loss that clubs would have to think about letting players leave again for international duty.

“The clubs pay the players and work with everyone to ensure the processes are carried out properly," Rosen said. "And you get the impression that the national associations simply don’t care.”

Dortmund had to do without defender Manuel Akanji after he tested positive while on duty for Switzerland.

“When you look at the rising numbers, you have to wonder whether it makes sense to stop (players from leaving) for the next break,” Leipzig sports director Markus Krösche said after his team’s 2-0 win in Augsburg. “There has to be clear guidance from FIFA on how it goes, especially in risk areas.”

Leipzig was without Amadou Haidara. The midfielder had tested positive after helping Mali defeat Ghana 3-0 in a friendly in Turkey. Also, Hertha Berlin was upset that Mattéo Guendouzi returned from France’s under-21 team with the virus.

“The signing was already very complicated,” Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia. “Now it’s the worst case scenario.”

Other cases are causing concern that soccer may be put on hold again as Germany appears to be dealing with a second wave of the virus. The country’s disease control center reported 7,830 new cases over the previous 24 hours on Saturday, a record for the third day in a row.

Second-division club Nuremberg reported two positive cases on Wednesday. The game between Osnabruck and Darmstadt was postponed with most of the home team in quarantine for 14 days after two of its players tested positive for COVID-19.

Union Berlin striker Max Kruse was criticized for posting an Instagram video showing him enjoying a visit to a shisha bar with friends. Berlin has some of Germany’s highest virus infection rates.

“It wasn’t the cleverest from Max, he knows that himself,” Union teammate Marvin Friedrich said after the team's 1-1 draw at Schalke on Sunday.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre assumes there will be more cases among players and he warned that the league may be suspended again. There was no soccer for two months when the pandemic started in March.