Man City benefited from VAR but Haaland looked unstoppable in five-goal outing
MANCHESTER, England. Erling Haaland scored five goals as Manchester City beat RB Leipzig 7-0 to secure a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
City went into the bottom eight for the sixth year in a row after Haaland scored five times in less than an hour at the Etihad Stadium. Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne also excelled in the rout.
Haaland became the third player to score five goals in a Champions League game, after Lionel Messi and Luis Adriano, and broke City’s single-season record less than a year after moving to the club from Borussia Dortmund.
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1. Five breaks of Holland, Mbappe and Messi
The numbers Erling Haaland got in his first season in England are astonishing and they are getting more and more impressive. After scoring five goals against RB Leipzig, including his fifth hat-trick of the season, the Norwegian has now scored 39 goals, already one more than City’s single-season record of 38 set by Tommy Johnson in 1928. /29. It’s only March now, and with City still in three competitions, Haaland could easily cross the 60 mark by the end of the campaign.
His second goal against RB Leipzig – a close-range header after Janis Blaswich had driven him to error – made him the youngest player to score 30 Champions League goals at the age of 22 years and 236 days, ahead of Kylian Mbappe ( 22 years, 352 days) and Lionel Messi (23 years, 131 days).
The day before, Pep Guardiola said that matches against Crystal Palace, RB Leipzig and Burnley would decide their season. Two matches behind, and Haaland made a key contribution to both. He was signed by City to take on big games at the end of the season and that’s what he does. Burnley should be worried ahead of Saturday’s visit here for the FA Cup.
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2. VAR check allows you to open the floodgates
RB Leipzig came to Manchester believing they could cause shock after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Germany, but they didn’t have the opportunity to make the evening nervous for City. Fans at the stadium didn’t understand what was going on when Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic ran to a monitor near the pitch to watch a potential penalty that no one else noticed.
Even after watching it, it seemed very harsh to judge that Benjamin Henriks headbutted Rodri. Haaland didn’t care and scored his 35th goal of the season from a penalty kick, and with the remnants of RB Leipzig’s protests still aimed at Vincic, the Norwegian got his second goal of the night.
Within two minutes in the middle of the first half, RB Leipzig’s game plan was ruined and with the overall score at 3–1, they faced an almost impossible task. By the time Haaland scored his hat-trick in stoppage time of the first half, the game was over and the second half was nothing more than a practice session for Guardiola and his players.
City were favorites before the game and RB Leipzig would probably have lost anyway, especially with Haaland in this form, but manager Marco Rose has every right to believe that the officials did not help his team.
3. Aside from Bayern, top Bundesliga teams are learning a hard lesson
RB Leipzig were eliminated, joining Borussia Dortmund, who were relegated from the Premier League after being ousted by Chelsea. Bayern Munich, the best the Bundesliga has to offer, is still in the game after knocking out Paris Saint-Germain, but the rest of Germany is playing catch-up with England’s big budgets.
RB Leipzig have not advanced beyond the last 16 since reaching the semi-finals in 2020, while Dortmund’s best result is three quarter-finals since reaching the final in 2013. Perhaps it would have been different for RB Leipzig if Christopher Nkunku had been available for more than 24 minutes throughout the game. two games, but the French striker is a good example of why the likes of Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund will struggle for a regular top-eight finish in Europe.
Nkunku will move to Chelsea in the summer and Borussia Dortmund top player Jude Bellingham could follow Haaland to City if they can stand up to competition from Real Madrid and Liverpool. It’s hard to play catch-up when the carpet is constantly being kicked out from under your feet.
Best and Worst Performers
BEST: Erling Haaland, ST, Manchester City
To score five goals in the Champions League playoffs is a daunting achievement.
BEST: John Stones, defender, Manchester City
Played at right back and midfield and excelled in both positions.
BEST: Kevin De Bruyne, Midfielder, Manchester City
He was criticized by Guardiola ahead of the game, but scored a stunning seventh goal.
WORST: Janis Blasvich, GK, RB Leipzig
He made a serious mistake as RB Leipzig quickly conceded the second goal.
WORST: Timo Werner, FW, RB Leipzig
The former Chelsea striker forgot about the evening upon his return to England.
WORST: Josko Guardiol, defender, RB Leipzig
Playing against one of the best strikers in the world in Haaland, one of the best young defenders saw his side concede five goals in less than an hour.
Highlights and Notable Moments
Good situational awareness of Haaland, who scored his second goal (after the first from a disputed penalty), finding himself in the right place after Kevin De Bruyne’s belt bounced off the wooden frame.
TWO GOALS IN TWO MINUTES. ERLING HAALAND HAPPY 30TH ANNIVERSARY #Championship TARGET. 🤖 pic.twitter.com/rg7EMukU9j
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 14, 2023
But De Bruyne got his way that night, saving him for the last seconds of the match with a perfect curling shot.
Kevin De Bruyne saves the best for last, which is 7. 💫 pic.twitter.com/Q1Lz71tljt
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 14, 2023
After the match: what coaches and players said
Erling Haaland on his performance with five goals: “My superpower is scoring goals. Should I be honest? Many goals today, I didn’t think. mind and trying to put him where there is no goalkeeper.”
Josep Guardiola on Haaland’s replacement: “If he reaches this milestone at 22, his life will be boring! He has something to strive for.”
Haaland on the early replacement in an interview with BT Sport: “When I left, I told Pep that I would like to do a double hat-trick, but what can I do!”
Key statistics (provided by Sportzshala Stats & Information research)
– Pep Guardiola was the coach of Haaland and Messi when they scored five goals in the Champions League. Messi happened in the round of 16 match against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2011-12 season.
– Manchester City set their own record for the longest lead over a German side in the Champions League (7-0 against Schalke in the 2018–19 round of 16).
– This is the seventh time a German team has conceded 6+ goals in the Champions League. Pep Guardiola was the manager in four of those games (one at Barcelona and three at Man City).
Manchester: Will host Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturdaylive on Sportzshala+ at 1:45 pm ET) in front of the FIFA international window. They return to action on 1 April against Liverpool in league play.
RB Leipzig: In VfL Bochum on Saturday (Live on Sportzshala+ at 10:30 AM ET) in the Bundesliga before the break. Conducting Mainz 05 April 1st.