Erling Haaland continued his irrepressible form as Manchester City took a significant step towards the Champions League knockout stages with an emphatic 5-0 victory over FC Copenhagen.
The Norwegian hitman opened the scoring with a sweet first-time finish on seven minutes before doubling the home side’s advantage with a simple tap-in just past the half hour.
City then made it three going into the break when the unfortunate Davit Khotcholava diverted Sergio Gomez’s shot into his own net.
Haaland was replaced at the interval with his job already done, but City continued to dominate and Riyad Mahrez marked his 200th appearance for the club with an ice-cool penalty on 55 minutes.
Julian Alvarez then made it five with 14 minutes left when he polished off a slick team move.
The result sees Pep Guardiola’s men top Group G with three wins from three. Borussia Dortmund are second on six points with FC Copenhagen and Sevilla on a point apiece.
Next up, City host Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday before making the trip to FC Copenhagen on Tuesday.
That man Haaland. It’s fair to assume Southampton’s defenders may well be quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing the 22-year-old Norway international in the Premier League at the weekend.
Indeed, we are already running out of superlatives to describe his impact and exploits. Haaland needed just 45 minutes to make his mark here, taking his tally to 19 goals in just 12 matches since joining the Citizens.
His brace also took him to a total of 28 goals in just 22 Champions League games for Salzburg, Dortmund and City.
It was surely only the intervention of Guardiola and his decision to rest the No. 9 for the second half that prevented him from notching up another hat-trick and the forward looks more and more like being the missing piece in the jigsaw that could see the Citizens finally break their Champions League hoodoo come the end of the season.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Sergio Gomez (Man City). It would be easy to go with the headlines and pick Haaland, but he only played 45 minutes and Gomez was excellent throughout.
MAN CITY: Ederson 7, Cancelo 8, Dias 7, Laporte 7, Gomez 8, Mahrez 8, Gundogan 7, Bernardo 7, Grealish 8, Alvarez 7, Haaland 8. Subs: Palmer 6, Lewis 6, Wilson-Esbrand 6.
FC COPENHAGEN: Grabara 8, Diks 6, Vavro 6, Khocholava 6, Kristiansen 6, Stamenic 6, Larager 6, Johannesson 6, Claesson 6, Daramy 6, Karamako 6. Subs: Lund 6, Haraldsson 6, Ankersen 6, Mukairu 6, Sorensen 6.
07’ – GOAL! – Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen. It’s that man again! Haaland flashes a brilliant first-time strike into the corner from Cancelo’s low ball into the middle.
13’ – MAN CITY CHANCE! Haaland and Grealish combine to tee up Bernardo Silva but his low shot from the left side of the box comes back off the near post.
33’ – GOAL! – Man City 2-0 FC Copenhagen. It’s Haaland at the double. The Norwegian taps into an empty net after Grabara had fumbled Gomez’s volley.
39’ – GOAL! – Man City 3-0 FC Copenhagen. Gomez’s first-time shot from just outside the area hits two defenders and ends up in the back of the net via Khotcholava.
55’ – GOAL! – Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen. Mahrez steps up and sends Grabara the wrong way with a clinical penalty after Laporte was pulled down in the area.
67’ – GOAL! – Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen. Alvarez gets in on the goal act as he touches home from close range after brilliant play from Grealish and Mahrez.