Manchester City cruised into the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League with a masterful performance against RB Leipzig on Tuesday. The man at the center of it all was Erling Haaland. The big Norwegian equaled a Champions League record with five goals in one game. More impressively, he did all that before 60 minutes passed in the game.
Three of those goals came in the first half. Haaland tucked away a penalty past Leipzig goalkeeper Janis Blaswich. Even though the German shot-stopper guessed the correct way, he could not get a paw on Haaland’s low roller.
Then, just a pair of minutes later, Haaland struck again. Another instance of being in the right place at the right time, Haaland simply had to nod the ball on target to score. He pounced on a rebound off the crossbar from a left-footed strike from Kevin de Bruyne that deflected into the six-yard box.
By halftime, the tie was wrapped up. Haaland grabbed his third, another one coming from a tap in. After Ruben Dias struck the woodwork from a corner, the Norwegian slammed the goal-mouth scramble in. He delivered Manchester City to the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the sixth-straight season.
Manchester City into quarterfinals after Haaland equals record
Haaland’s goal-scoring display had a very quick break after the halftime interval. Club captain Ilkay Gundogan scored City’s fourth on the night, and fifth in the tie. The German guided in Manchester City’s 100th goal of the season with a perfectly placed shot to the left side of Blaswich.
Of course, Haaland was not done, either. The fourth and fifth goals came in similar ways. After Blaswich was able to make saves, Leipzig failed to deal with the rebounds. Consequently, the always dangerous Haaland latched onto the loose ball and slammed it into the Leipzig net.
Haaland is just the third player to score five goals in one Champions League game. He is the first to do it since Luiz Adriano for Shakhtar Donetsk against BATE Borisov in the 2014 group stage. Before then, Lionel Messi was the first to accomplish the feat, as he put five past Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16 in 2012.
The five goals rocketed Haaland to the top of this season’s top scorers list in the UEFA Champions League. He now has 10 goals in six matches played in the competition. Moreover, he rests at 39 goals on the season in just 36 games in all competitions. He has more goals than appearances in both the Premier League and Champions League this season. In his career, he is at 33 Champions League goals over 25 games. Remember, he is just 22 years old.
Funnily enough, the best goal of the game may have been the last one. Kevin de Bruyne wrapped a ball into Blaswich’s left-hand side from 20 yards out for City’s seventh on the night, and eighth in the tie. Final score on aggregate was 8-1.
He, along with the rest of Manchester City, learn their opponent in the quarterfinals on Friday morning at 7 a.m. ET.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sportimage
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