Ivan Toney responded to his England World Cup rejection with a superb brace against champions Manchester City. The Brentford striker scored his second of the game in the eighth minute of stoppage time to ensure a shock 2-1 away win for the Bees.
The Brentford striker opened the scoring at the Etihad, less than 24 hours after learning he wouldn’t be travelling to Qatar and then bagged the match-winner. Toney, 26, had been included in Gareth Southgate’s penultimate squad before the winter tournament, and would have had high hopes of appearing at his first World Cup.
However, it wasn’t to be, with the likes of James Maddison, Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson filling the remaining attacking options in Southgate’s squad. That may have been extra motivation against City, with the Bees getting off to a flying start away from home before Toney rewarded them by nodding in Ben Mee’s headed pass.
Thomas Frank’s side aimed to hold onto their lead and first-half dominance, but it wasn’t to be with England’s Foden bagging an absolute stunner just before the break.
The second half was interrupted by a 10-minute delay for a bloodied Aymeric Laporte, but the Spain international managed to stay on the pitch and cut out a pass for Toney that looked destined for the back of the net.
For if this is how the Brentford striker responds to being overlooked by the England manager, his side would be the ones challenging for the title, not City. Toney, should you have just awoken from a 48-hour kip, was the shock omission when Southgate named his party for Qatar on Thursday.
So how would the Bees hit-man react? A sulk? A strop? A stomp? Not a bit of it… in fact the perfect example of clinical finishing to dump a side which had forgotten what it was like to lose at home.
Sixteen games on the win for City before yesterday. Thanks to Toney, that’s where it stopped, as well.
A looping header on 17 minutes, and deadly counter thrust on 97…and had it not been for Kevin De Bruyne blocking another on the line, he would have left with the match ball too.
As it is, Toney will be quite happy with three points, never mind three goals. You sense a certain Three Lions gaffer will have squirmed uncomfortably in his chair as he watched on.
No-one can say Brentord didn’t deserve it either. For yes, while City had plenty of chances to have pulled clear before they struck so late on, they hadn’t flinched all day.
This was definitely a first choice one as well, as all bar Erling Haaland are bound for the World Cup next week. City can’t say they weren’t warned of the day ahead, either.
- A Tell /Agencies report