Erling Haaland scores FIVE and smashes records as Man City march on - 6 talking points

The Morning Mails

Erling Haaland scores FIVE and smashes records as Man City march on - 6 talking points

Erling Haaland broke long-standing Champions League and Manchester City records as he bagged five goals as his side demolished RB Leipzig in their Round of 16 tie. With the tie finely poised after the first leg in Germany ended 1-1 last month, the pressure was on Pep Guardiola’s side against the Bundesliga’s third best side. Yet a virtuoso performance from Haaland blew the opposition away. The Norwegian scored a first half hat-trick; a penalty, close-range finish stemming from his pressing of the goalkeeper, and a scrappy third after Leipzig had cleared the ball off the line. Haaland scored twice more after the break from close range after Ilkay Gundogan had bagged the fourth from City, as RB Leipzig collapsed – unable to deal with the home side’s quality or intensity, with Kevin de Bruyne adding a seventh late on.

Here are six talking points from a historic evening at the Etihad. Haaland breaks Champions League record Haaland's five goals came within the space of a scarcely believable 35 minutes ( Image: Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images) Haaland’s remarkable five-goal haul ensured he moved beyond the 30-goal mark in the Champions League , becoming the youngest goal scorer in the competition to reach that milestone. He is aged 22 years and 236 days, which is 116 days younger than previously youngest striker Kylian Mbappe when he reached the landmark. Lionel Messi was aged 23 years and 131 days when he moved onto 30. A sign of the Norwegian’s remarkable rate.

The fact that he was subbed off just after the hour mark, having already scored five goals, appeared to be a rare show of mercy from City – allowing other attackers to get in on the act and give the star a rest. Long-standing City record finally ends City simply overwhelmed their opponents - who could not match their skill or intensity ( Image: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) For 94 years, Tommy Johnson held Manchester City ’s club record for the most goals scored in a single season. Known for his powerful left foot shot, Johnson bagged 38 goals in the 1928-29 season for the club. It appeared that such a remarkable record was going to move past the century mark, but then came Haaland. He now has 39 goals in 36 appearances in his debut season, with two months of the campaign still to come! Pep’s German dominance Pep Guardiola's impressive record over German opposition continued on Tuesday ( Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) This was the 14 th occasion on which Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City had faced Bundesliga opposition in the Champions League.

The record is remarkable: 10 victories, three draws and just one defeat – ironically in Leipzig in the group stage last summer. City’s goal difference in those matches also reflects their dominance against German sides, conceding 14 goals – one per game – but finding the net on 44 occasions, over three per match. This run may not include any games against Bayern Munich, whom Guardiola previously managed, but is indicative of how City’s style and resources are just too much for Bayern’s main domestic challengers. Etihad dominance City fans again saw their side hit the opposition for six in the Champions League at home ( Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) This was City’s 24 th home match in the Champions League since they had lost against Lyon at the Etihad in their opening game of the 2018/19 group stage. Remarkably, they have won 22 of those games – with draws at home to Shakhtar Donestk and Sporting CP – the latter a dead rubber second leg in last season’s Round of 16.

No other club has a comparable record in the competition in recent times and is indicative of how important home advantage has been to Guardiola’s side over the years. They have lost six matches away from home in that time, including drawing each of their last three matches on the road in the competition. Leipzig’s concerning collapse RB Leipzig players were unable to respond or react to City's dominance ( Image: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) As brilliant and ruthless as Man City were in this clash, this was a hugely concerning night for RB Leipzig – who totally collapsed and who played themselves into trouble constantly. City created multiple clear goalscoring opportunities before breaking the deadlock, while their first two goals stemmed from individuals errors and poor judgement from the visitors. As much as they were underdogs for this clash, the manner of their defeat may set alarm bells ringing.

Handball rule controversy RB Leipzig players were left incensed by the decision to award City a penalty for their opener ( Image: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) Thankfully the convincing outcome of City’s victory means that the opening goal was from decisive, but the nature of the home side’s first goal proved to be hugely controversial. City’s corner led to somewhat of a scramble before the visitors cleared the ball. A minute later, the play was halted and the referee advised to check the VAR screen for a penalty, despite no protests from players or fans. Rodri’s header, which was not moving directly towards goal, brushed the arm of Benjamin Henrichs, who had his back to the ball, at point-blank range. The penalty was awarded and scored, while Henrichs was booked – seemingly for having an arm.

The decision may be the correct one by football’s ever-evolving rulebook, but the severity of the punishment for an innocuous and unintentional incident felt entirely inconsistent.

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