SEVILLA, Spain (AP) — Whatever the competition, whatever the opponent, Erling Haaland just can’t stop scoring for Manchester City.
Score those 12 goals in seven competitive games in the Norwegian striker’s first season for City following his brace in a 4-0 win over Sevilla in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.
Phil Foden and Ruben Dias scored City’s other goals in their dominating performance at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán which was again marred by Haaland’s latest clinic of opportunism, who now has 25 goals in 20 games in Champions League.
“He has an incredible sense of goal,” City manager Pep Guardiola said of Haaland. “He scored two goals and had two or three more (chances) to score.”
Haaland scored a hat-trick on his competitive debut for Salzburg and was also on the scoresheet in his Champions League debut for Borussia Dortmund.
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And there was no doubt Haaland would do the same for City once Kevin De Bruyne was released into the inside right channel by Foden’s pass, the Belgian playmaker sending in a cross which Haaland converted at length bearing with a flying volley. in the 21st minute.
Foden made it 2-0 in the 58th minute when he twisted and turned inside the penalty area, before sending a shot through defender Nemanja Gudelj’s legs and into the bottom corner.
Foden was also involved in the third goal, with his shot saved by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou only for Haaland to be there to grab the rebound.
City’s fourth goal, a tap-in from Dias in second-half stoppage time for his first Champions League goal, was met with whistles of derision from frustrated Sevilla fans who saw their team pick up just one point from four games in the Spanish league. so far this season.
Haaland is showing an astonishing ability to be in the right place at the right time – usually directly in front of goal – to complete his chances in his first worrying displays for City since an off-season move from Dortmund.
He has managed to score just one of his first seven games for City – somewhat surprisingly against Premier League relegation candidates Bournemouth – and already has back-to-back hat-tricks to his name.
The De Bruyne-Haaland partnership also clicks, with this pair combining for three goals – all scored by Haaland – already this season.
“I try to do my job, make the right moves and create as many chances as possible and I know Erling is going to be there,” De Bruyne said. “At the moment Erling is scoring the goals.”
There were also more positives for City.
Manuel Akanji, a Dortmund deadline day signing, enjoyed a comfortable start at centre-back alongside Dias while left-back Sergio Gomez looked accomplished on his first start since arriving from Anderlecht.
Jack Grealish, meanwhile, got some well-deserved minutes in his legs after missing the last four games through injury.
Should City beat Dortmund next week in a quick reunion with his former club for Haaland, Guardiola’s side will be heading for a double-header with Group G underdogs FC Copenhagen knowing two wins would seal the deal. virtually a spot in the knockout stage with two games to spare. , which could be important in this congested and World Cup-affected season.
“The first away game is very important, you have to set the tone,” De Bruyne said, “and we did that tonight.”
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