Erling Haaland scored twice and made it 12 goals in seven games for Man City as they kicked off their Champions League campaign in style with a 4-0 win over Sevilla.
City’s new superstar scored twice in the Group G opener with Phil Foden and Ruben Dias also getting in on the act as Pep Guardiola’s quest to win a first Champions League with the club got off to the perfect start.
Haaland was on hand to convert a Kevin De Bruyne cross on 20 minutes before Foden reversed a clever second goal into the far corner after the break. City, who were at their slick best, made the game ultra-safe on 67 minutes when Haaland tapped home after Foden’s shot was parried meaning the Norway striker has now scored 25 goals in just 20 Champions League appearances.
Dias rounded off the scoring in injury-time in an emphatic win.
Next up for Manchester City is Tottenham on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.
Sevilla Bono (6), Angel Carmona (6), Gudelj (6), Nianzou (6), Telles (6) Navas (6), Rakitic (6), Delaney (7), Isco (6), Acuna (6), Papu Gomez (6)
Subs: Dolberg (6), Suso (6), Jordan (6), Januzaj (6)
Man City: Ederson (7), Akanji (7), Gomez (7), Dias (7), Cancelo (7), Rodri (8), Foden (8), Bernardo Silva (7), De Bruyne (8), Grealish (7), Haaland (8)
Subs: Gundogan (7), Palmer (7), Alvarez (7), Phillips (7)
Man of the match: Erling Haaland
How sleek City swept aside Sevilla…
Man City are not usually at their best when crossing the border into Spain having won just three of their last 13 visits but they settled so smoothly in Seville.
De Bruyne had already showcased his telepathic wavelength with Haaland on eight minutes when the striker flicked his cross wide of the post. Sevilla did not heed that warning.
Man City team news: Jack was back!
Pep Guardiola handed new signing Manuel Akanji a full debut at the heart of the City defence. He partnered Ruben Dias with John Stones out injured and Sergio Gomez played down the left. There was one change in the fluid attacking shape from the Villa draw as Jack Grealish made his first appearance for four games after injury.
Foden spotted the clever run of De Bruyne down the right edge of the box and he swished a devastating cross into the six-yard box, knowing quite well that his striker would be reading the situation. Haaland stretched out his athletic frame and poked the ball home from close range for his 11th goal of what has been a remarkable start to his City career.
Sevilla, who had lost three of their four La Liga games this season and looked devoid of any confidence, decided to throw on two attackers in the second half to try and push Man City back. However, it only opened up the pitch further for the visitors and Foden started to pop up in some dangerous positions.
He got his goal on 58 minutes when reversing a no-look finish into the far corner from the edge of the area. Foden was involved in the third, and Haaland’s second, when some more quick footwork set up a strike that Bono tamely parried clear straight into his path. Safe to say he did not miss.
Guardiola had the luxury of resting Haaland, De Bruyne and Foden for the final 25 minutes but City did not take their foot off the gas and Dias was on hand to power home a Riyad Mahrez cross.
On this evidence, Manchester City will take some stopping in this competition.
What’s that coming over the hill? It’s Erling Haaland.
Sky Sports’ Lewis Jones writes:
Quite simply he is a monster.
He’s only been on these shores for seven games but it’s becoming hard to write anything intelligent or ground-breaking about his powers. Check the bucket of superlatives. It’s already empty.
Best to talk facts and numbers then.
City’s new superstar scored twice in the Champions League Group G opener against Sevilla, taking his tally to 12 goals in the City colours. The Norway striker has now scored 25 goals in just 20 Champions League appearances.
There will be more to come, too.
There should have been more in Seville but his team-mates, bar De Bruyne it seems, are still struggling to fire direct balls across the box or into Haaland’s feet. The switch from having to score the beautiful goal to a more simple, rugged one is taking time to sink in.
Take for example Phil Foden’s goal that made it 2-0. As the play developed down the right edge of the box with Joao Cancelo, Haaland made three separate runs into pockets of space in the box and demanded the cross. On each occasion his request was not fulfilled, did he sulk? Did he heck. He just kept moving back into more space waiting for the ball. Eventually, the ball found Foden and he could have slipped in Haaland, who was again in space, but he reversed a quality finish into the far corner.
When City’s players work out the ball Haaland is almost always on, who knows what is possible.
A monster season, most probably.
De Bruyne: Haaland will get even better
Kevin De Bruyne to BT Sport:
“I try to do my job, make the right movements and create as many chances as I can.
“I know one way or the other Erling is going to be there. For the moment, he’s scoring the goals and that helps us win games. It’s a perfect start for him.
“I think the way he has adapted to us is really good. Outside the goalscoring there is still another part of the game and I think that part is maybe more tough to adapt to.
“But it makes it more exciting. If he can adjust to the way we play there, then the level is going to go up. That’s what we demand from him. He knows and we know we can still do better but that’s only positive.”
Pep: Haaland has incredible senses
Pep Guardiola said: “We make not a good first half, we wanted to attack too quick. When they were playing better, we scored the second one with a brilliant action from Phil. After that, it was easy.
“I think his [Haaland] numbers across his career, not just here, is quite similar. So he has an incredible sense of goal. We have incredible numbers in scoring goals, so we want to continue like that. Another battle next Saturday against Tottenham, so hopefully he can continue scoring goals.”
Man City’s remaining Champions League fixtures
September 14: Borussia Dortmund (H) – kick-off 8pm
October 5: FC Copenhagen (H) – kick-off 8pm
October 11: FC Copenhagen (A) – kick-off 5.45pm
October 25: Borussia Dortmund (A) – kick-off 8pm
November 2: Sevilla (H) – kick-off 8pm
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