Football

Feyenoord fired up for City challenge

Winger Berghuis says his team will make Pep's charges 'pay the price' with their high-tempo game

GROUP F
FEYENOORD MAN CITY

Former Arsenal midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst will have to draw on every ounce of his Premier League experience if he is to try and outfox Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in their Champions League Group F opener tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Feyenoord host a rampant City side still on a high after mauling Liverpool 5-0 in the Premier League last Saturday.

The Dutch champions are making a first appearance in the group stage of Europe's elite club competition after a 15-year absence.

Feyenoord may have beaten Heracles 4-2 in a Dutch Eredivisie match over the weekend, but their opponents came dangerously close to scoring more goals - a fact that will no doubt play on coach van Bronckhorst's mind.

The Rotterdam club, who won the European Cup in 1970, faced a further blow up front after leading striker Nicolai Jorgensen came off with a leg muscle injury 21 minutes into the Heracles game.

The 26-year-old Denmark international - last year's Eredivisie top-scorer with 21 goals in 32 games - will not play in the City match, Feyenoord announced on Monday.

Feyenoord winger Steven Berghuis is expecting a tough night in Rotterdam, but believes they can shock the star-studded City side.

"It's going to be tough to stay standing against this club (Manchester City)," Berghuis told daily tabloid De Telegraaf.

"The only thing we can do is to try to make them pay a price and play a game with lots of energy."

City have spent more than £200 million (S$354.4m) over the summer strengthening their squad after losing to Monaco in the last 16 last season.

And one of the new signings Bernardo Silva says no matter who City face in the Champions League, they will have the Citizens' full respect.

The Portuguese midfielder, who has made three appearances and started one game so far this season for City, is hoping to play some part of the match against Feyenoord.

"If they're in the Champions League, they are a good team," said Silva of the Dutch side.

"They have a lot of good players for sure but, in the Champions League, it's a different competition and we'll try to do our best to go as far as possible.

"When you're at a club like City, you have to do your best to win all the trophies you compete for.

"Of course, it's not easy to win a competition like the Champions League but, if you never try, you'll never win it."

The odds overwhelmingly favour a City win, although the last time they visited Dutch soil, they lost 3-1 to Ajax in the group stage in 2012.

Guardiola got a boost when goalkeeper Ederson trained with his teammates yesterday.

The Brazilian, who suffered facial injuries in a nasty clash with Liverpool's Sadio Mane last Saturday, wore a skull cap and City will assess his fitness ahead of tomorrow morning's match.

Captain Vincent Kompany is doubtful with the calf injury that saw him miss the Liverpool game, but forward Raheem Sterling is available after a domestic ban. - WIRE SERVICES

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