UCL Haaland Grabs Brace As Man City Secures Last 16 Spot

Erling Haaland scored twice as holders Manchester City cruised into the last 16 of the Champions League with two group games remaining.

This came following Tuesday’s 3-0 triumph over Young Boys of Switzerland.

With four games played, Pep Guardiola’s team is leading Group G with 12 points, maintaining their perfect record.

With one point, Young Boys are fourth in the group after Sandro Lauper’s red card in the 53rd minute reduced them to 10 men.

‘Still the job is not done because we have to finish first because it’s better in the last-16 to have the weapon of the second game at home,’ Guardiola said.

‘But the first step to qualify is done, (and) we scored two fantastic goals.’

Africa Today News, New York reports that Haaland now has 39 Champions League goals from 34 appearances, and is on course to smash the record for fewest appearances to reach 40 goals, which is 45 games by Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The 23-year-old injured his ankle in Saturday’s 6-1 trouncing of Bournemouth in the Premier League, raising questions about whether he would even play on Tuesday.

The one negative on the night was the loss of John Stones, who recently returned from a hip injury but was replaced at halftime after suffering what Guardiola said was a muscle issue.

‘He will be awhile out, it’s a pity, it’s bad news for us,’ Guardiola said.

City applied pressure from kickoff and Haaland broke the deadlock from a penalty in the 23rd minute after Lauper’s tackle on Matheus Nunes in the box.

The Norwegian striker pumped a fist in the air after sending goalkeeper Anthony Racioppi the wrong way.

Phil Foden doubled City’s lead seconds before halftime when Jack Grealish spotted him out wide.

The England midfielder cut into the box and beat Racioppi with a low shot.

Haaland’s second goal – and fourth in two games against Young Boys – was a beautiful left-footed rocket from 20 yards out in the 51st minute.

Haaland had traded shirts with Young Boys captain Mohamed Ali Camara as they walked off the field at halftime.

He was substituted to a standing ovation from the home crowd a few minutes after his goal.

The score could have been more lopsided as City had numerous near misses including Rico Lewis’s attempt that looked destined for the net before it was cleared off the line by Loris Benito.

Belgian forward Jeremy Doku sent in a pinpoint cross after coming on late in the game, but Nunes could not finish.

“We knew it’s very difficult here, to get a point or a win, you need to have the kind of a game, the perfect game in every phase of the game,” Young Boys manager Raphael Wicky said.

City are unbeaten in their last 17 Champions League games since losing 3-1 away to Real Madrid in the semi-finals in May 2022.

Africa Today News, New York

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *