Erling Haaland continued his amazing debut season by hitting five goals as Manchester City thumped RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium. The Norwegian striker hit his fifth hattrick of the season, then added two more after the break as City booked their place in the last eight. Ilkay Gundogan and a late strike by Kevin de Bruyne completed the rout as City joined Chelsea, Benfica and Bayern Munich, as well as the two Milan clubs in the quarter-final.
There were some who gave the German side a chance following the 1-1 first-leg draw in Germany, but, as soon as Haaland grabbed two goals in as many minutes, the result never seemed to be in doubt.
City haven’t been at their scintillating best this season, with some surprise results coming as a result of the blues not taking their chances. But there was no such problem on Tuesday evening. From the moment Haaland’s 22nd minute penalty hit the back of the net, the blues moved into rampant mode.
Vincent Kompany’s Burnley, City’s FA Cup opponents on Saturday evening, must have looked on in awe and fear as the blues ripped the Germans open with considerable ease.
In fairness, the penalty awarded for handball was harsh on the visitors, Rodri’s header seemingly ball-to-hand than a deliberate attempt by the defender to block the ball illegally. VAR intervened and awarded City a spot-kick, which Haaland duly dispatched.
It was then open-season for the Nordic meat shield, heading his second moments later after de Bruyne’s thunderbolt strike smacked against the woodwork, with Haaland quickest to the rebound.
The striker hit home his third after the visitors made a goal-line clearance to send the blues 3-0 up at the break and secure his fifth match ball of the season. If he keeps this rate, he’ll need to build an extension at his home just for match balls.
Gundogan gave the Germans a break from Haaland, grabbing the fourth two minutes after the break by firing low into the goal. But it was only a reprieve from the striker, who resumed normal service five minutes later, then hit his fifth just four minutes after that. In doing so, Haaland became only the third player in Champions League history to hit five goals in a single match.
There was every chance he’d break that record too and hit a first double hattrick, had Pep Guardiola not withdrawn him on 63 minutes. There was a notable drop in intensity after Haaland’s departure, although Riyad Mahrez did his best to continue goal scoring form in the Champions League.
But City did make it 7-0 when de Bruyne scored with the last kick of the game as the blues equalled their biggest Champions League win, once again against German opposition,
Final Score: Manchester City 7-0 RB Leipzig