Fans think Kevin De Bruyne is responsible for changing how free kicks are defended
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Five years ago, on a cold afternoon at the Cardiff City Stadium, Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne would score a goal that would 'change how teams defend free kicks forever', according to some fans.
On January 28, 2018, the Citizens sealed a place in the FA Cup fifth round after they recorded a convincing 2-0 win over Cardiff.
Pep Guardiola's relentless outfit, who would go on to set an English top flight record for most points in a single season (100), opened the scoring with just eight minutes played.
After a silky team move, Ilkay Gundogan was hacked down by Cardiff midfielder Joe Ralls on the edge of the box and De Bruyne confidently stepped up.
The Belgian technician, known for his pinpoint accuracy from range, proceeded to steer the ball under the wall, leaving goalkeeper Neil Etheridge with no chance between the sticks.
BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce was in awe of the goal. "Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant," he said. "Cardiff City were expecting the big bender, and he simply tickled it in... he's done his homework."
Those in the wall clearly expected De Bruyne to lift it over but instead, he dribbled the ball under all six players with ease.
And from that moment on, teams would often decide to deploy a man to lay down behind the wall against Manchester City in an attempt to reduce the chance of this happening again.
This KDB free-kick, #OnThisDay in 2018. 😮💨pic.twitter.com/dTimOdvIbM— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) January 28, 2023
In fact, many teams will now have a player lay down behind the wall – and some believe it was this De Bruyne goal that really kicked off the trend.
One fan commented on the goal, saying: "This literally changed how free kicks are defended," while another said: "Changed the game on this day, people starting putting man across the floor for free kicks."
A third wrote: "This is why defenders lie down behind the wall."
That being said, some supporters were quick to mention the likes of Coutinho, Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi, who had all scored 'under-the-wall' free kicks before De Bruyne's effort against Cardiff.
But there's no denying the impact of the Belgian's goal, as many teams made sure to use a block after that specific moment.
Thoughts on fans saying De Bruyne changed how free kicks are defended?
Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: The Emirates FA Cup/YouTube
Topics: Manchester City, Premier League, Cardiff City, Kevin De Bruyne