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De Bruyne shines as City beats West Brom

Friday, February 02, 2018

MANCHESTER, England - Belgian Kevin De Bruyne delivered another virtuoso performance as Premier League leaders Manchester City beat bottom club West Bromwich Albion 3-0 at the Etihad yesterday to restore a 15-point lead at the top.

It could easily, as City manager Pep Guardiola noted, have ended with seven or eight goals for the home side who even without the injured Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus were close to unstoppable.

"At times tonight I wanted to give my players a cuddle because I felt sorry for them," West Brom manager Alan Pardew told reporters.

Having watched his side struggle, like so many others this season, to cope with City's swift breaks and precision passing, Pardew had no doubt who was the central figure behind the torment his side suffered.

The Belgian's ability to find a player on the move with a perfectly-placed and weighted pass carved open West Brom's defence for the 19th-minute opener.

De Bruyne found Fernandinho, who had burst into the inside left channel and slid the ball past keeper Ben Foster.

Foster could have been, on another night, the hero for West Brom, and he produced four fine first-half saves to keep out powerful strikes from De Bruyne whose ability to find the target from distance is equal to his speed on the counter and accuracy with the ball at his feet.

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