Rooney’s second shot of the match went in, and it gave the captain his first goal in 10 contests for United. It was a confident finish, set up with a deft touch from Memphis that sprung Rooney 1v1 with Brugge keeper Sinan Bolat.
The aggregate final was 7-1. Ander Herrera also scored for United.
Memphis had a wide-open run in the 35th minute but telegraphed his desire to pass to Rooney, allowing defender Marcus Duarte to close down the Dutch attacker and partially-block his shot out for a corner.
Brugge had a pair of late chances that moved Sergio Romero, one on a backwards header from Daley Blind, but couldn’t find the goal that would make an interesting second half. Romero robbed Abou Diaby on an absolute must-have 1v1 chance for the former Arsenal man.
Rooney would make it 2-0 with an easy-enough finish after Herrera slid him through just after halftime. That made it 5-1 on aggregate, putting Club Brugge’s hopes of the group stage to rest, but Rooney wasn’t done.
Juan Mata helped Rooney score a similar goal to the opener before the game was 60 minutes old, proving that Manchester United has wingers for days.
Herrera added a goal in the 63rd minute, walking in for yet another 1v1 with Bolat. It was his fifth shot of the match, and set up by Bastian Schweinsteiger.
It should’ve been 5-0, but Chicharito slipped while taking a late penalty kick. To add insult to injury, the Mexican striker sent a sitter over the net in the 90th.
Leicester has now beaten Spurs, Bournemouth, and Sheffield United, drawn Wolves and Chelsea, and lost away to Manchester United last week (in a match it was arguably superior to the hosts).
Rodgers loved his team’s day, which was challenged by VAR taking away goals from both sides, but knows the big picture is a big challenge.
“A brilliant team performance,” he said. “Very early days, we have had a tough start. We will get into the New Year and see where we are February, March.”
As for VAR, Rodgers saw an early Leicester goal pulled back for offside, but the system also determined that Heung-Min Son was offside by the finest bit of his rotator cuff before Serge Aurier made it 2-0 to Spurs.
“It’s what happens with VAR, you have to get your head round it. It works for you and against you. Worked both ways for us today. … We spoke with the players in pre season about VAR. You have to deal with it, sometimes for you and against you. Have to accept it and move on. It was a very important three points.”
Mauricio Pochettino worked a marvel with the English language in describing how VAR affected the late stages of Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 loss to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Spurs looked to have doubled its home lead with 20 minutes to play when Serge Aurier belted a far post shot past the reach of Kasper Schmeichel, but a lengthy video review showed Heung-Min Son‘s shoulder was maybe possibly offside.
Pochettino, oddly enough, chose not to debate the call but instead focused on the momentum he believes it provided to Leicester City en route to Ricardo Pereira‘s near-immediate answer and James Maddison‘s late winner.
“After 80 minutes, the game was going to be over. You gave massive belief to the team that was already dead. After we conceded the goal 1-1, we had some chances to score the second goal, but that’s what makes the Premier League the most beautiful league. You can never stop.”
He was optimistic on the overall performance following a disheartening 2-2 draw with Olympiacos at midweek, as Spurs threw away a 2-0 first half lead over the Greek hosts.
“Very disappointed because we lost the three points but in thinking the big picture I am very optimistic because the team showed great reaction after Olympiacos.”
Meanwhile, much of the rest of Twitter’s soccer world was a bit less forgiving of VAR. Even Leicester City legend Gary Lineker sent venom to the Video Assistant Referee.
In the before this would have either been called offside or not and then we would have argued about whether the call was right forever. In the after it’s called offside and we can argue about whether getting the call right is worth it forever. https://t.co/0P5y79doF1
Silva, marked for Inter Miami in a mid-week report, was the finisher for the 55th time in his Premier League career and 72nd for his club.
Ben Foster then gave away a useless penalty when he slapped a through ball out of bounds before felling Riyad Mahrez for an easy penalty. Aguero stepped to the spot calm as you like and dispatched the No. 2 to the scoreboard.
That was hardly the end to Watford’s woes, as Mahrez dazzled with a dribble through the heart of the field to earn a free kick atop the 18. There was only one destination, given the series of events. 3-0.
Bernardo Silva then got in on the act, when Otamendi nodded a De Bruyne corner to the back post for a prone finish and 4-0.
Not to be outdone, Otamendi was back post for a finish of his own, giving City its fifth goal off an Aguero assist.
You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.
For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.
The schedule for the three games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.
10 a.m. ET: Man City v. Watford – NBCSN [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Burnley v. Norwich – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM] 10 a.m. ET: Everton v. Sheffield United – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]