Goal by de Bruyne a sign for City fans

BRUSSELS • Manchester City's club record £55 million (S$118.8 million) signing Kevin de Bruyne gave the Etihad faithful a sneak preview of what he could bring to the side when he scored in Belgium's 3-1 victory over Bosnia on Thursday.

With his back to goal some 25 metres out, the midfielder received a pass from Axel Witsel.

De Bruyne pushed the ball out in front with his first touch, before shooting past Asmir Begovic on the turn.

Two touches were all it took for him to put Belgium 2-1 ahead just before half-time, after team-mate, Manchester United's midfielder Marouane Fellaini, cancelled out Edin Dzeko's opener.

Eden Hazard won and converted a penalty in the 78th minute to give the home side victory in the Euro 2016 qualifier.

Wales still top Group B with 17 points after a 1-0 victory in Cyprus. Belgium trail the Dragons by three points with three matches left.

The top two automatically go through to the finals in France.

De Bruyne, who was voted Man of the Match by Belgian TV viewers, revealed that he was pleased to put his lengthy transfer saga behind him.

A priority target for City throughout the summer, he finally joined the two-time champions from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg last week.

"I'm happy after the last couple of weeks, which were a bit hectic," the 24-year-old told Belgian TV station RTBF.

"This week's preparation did me a lot of good.

"The transfer window is closed and now I can play. That's what I prefer to do.

"I know that the press and the supporters will be there in numbers for the start of my career with Manchester City but that's normal," he noted.

"Everyone talked a lot about my transfer - a little too much I think - but, in the end, I have to prove my worth on the pitch.

"That's what's most important," he added.

Belgium and Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has backed de Bruyne - the second-most expensive player in Premier League transfer history behind Angel di Maria (£59.7 million) - to excel in England.

"He shows his quality and mental strength (in such a way that even) after two weeks of negotiation and difficult days, he managed to play a very good game and he helped to secure us the victory," he told Sky Sports.

"It is very good for him and we are looking forward to having him in the Premier League and (for him to) show his quality there."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'Goal by de Bruyne a sign for City fans'. Print Edition | Subscribe