Man City 3-0 Young Boys: Erling Haaland and Phil Foden fire Pep Guardiola’s side into Champions League knockout stages after dominant Etihad victory
- Manchester City have qualified for the next round of the Champions League
- Erling Haaland scored twice and Phil Foden added another goal at the Etihad
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There felt something slightly village about the Young Boys captain, Mohamed Camara, running after Erling Haaland like a schoolkid at half time. Please sir, could I have your shirt?
But then, this is the effect Haaland has. Even on his peers; even the guy who is supposed to be marking him. At least Camara has something to remember the night by. Soon to be framed next to a pool table, no doubt.
Manchester City were through to the knockout stages by that point, two goals clear and in no mood to surrender. Haaland would go onto score his second of the night a little while later, a nice confidence booster before Chelsea on Sunday, and Pep Guardiola could withdraw his superstar on the hour. All very serene.
City have now qualified from the group in 11 consecutive seasons, needing just a point when RB Leipzig arrive here in a few weeks to secure top spot. It’s been completed at a relative canter, even if the opposition have seemed kinder than usual.
Not that Haaland cares, stroking a penalty past Anthony Racioppi midway through the first half. An effort with a confusing mix of both purpose and nonchalance in a way only he can really manage.
Erling Haaland scored his second of the match with a thunderbolt strike from the edge of the box
Phil Foden scored at the end of the first half to give City breathing room before the break
Man City have now qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League after Tuesday’s victory
There had been fears about the Norwegian’s fitness at that end of the Etihad Stadium three days earlier, when he hobbled out of the weekend win over Bournemouth with a twisted ankle.
But the pain had eased a day later and Guardiola felt compelled to start him last night when it might have been more understandable to allow the striker an evening off.
His movement did not appear limited, this actually a more energetic outing than normal, afforded the room to stretch his legs with more regularity. A wafting leg is what did for the Swiss, Sandro Lauper lazily kicking Mattheus Nunes just inside the area. The £53million midfielder needed no second invite to fall.
Lauper had rather chucked in the towel just after the travelling supporters decided to throw black and yellow ponchos – waterproofs that resembled bin bags – towards the pitch. Two thousand of them made the trip, an element of which had security staff fearing trouble.
Their only real crime had been twirling those ponchos above their heads in unison. Until they unearthed some sparklers and flares. UEFA fine incoming.
A few hundred had been over the road at the City Football Academy earlier in the afternoon, making a racket as their Under 19s lost 3-0 in the Youth League. Emile Heskey’s two sons, Jaden and Reigan, starred for City in that. Reigan, only 15, scored the opener while his brother, 17, did the talking pitchside as part of the club’s pre-match broadcast.
Both Heskeys are progressing nicely through the academy but it is hard to believe that the senior of the two is only 13 months younger than Rico Lewis.
He never puts a foot wrong, Lewis. For an 18-year-old to have this impact on a team this good whenever he is called upon is a special trait to have. Playing in a more advanced role – one Guardiola has suggested will be the teenager’s eventual calling – he often seemed the brightest in a City shirt. His biggest asset is knowing exactly when and how to progress a game, when to inject more pace.
Pep Guardiola watched on as his City stars dismantled Young Boys in the European clash
Haaland scored his first of the evening from the penalty spot to put City ahead
Young Boys defender Sandro Lauper was sent off in the second half to make matters worse
That is what Phil Foden did right on the break. Jack Grealish, jeered mercilessly by the away fans just as he was in Bern a fortnight ago, pinged a crossfield ball over to his great mate. Then it was all Foden, fooling Ulisses Garcia by going round the outside. Reshaping his body, Foden elegantly passed into Racioppi’s far corner.
Haaland rocketed the third with fresh gear on, a 20-yard swinger, before Lauper decided to worsen his own night. In poleaxing Nathan Ake – on for John Stones – he basically begged for a second yellow. The Belgian referee obliged.
So it was just a training session for the remainder of the night, one that had started with Manuel Akanji hurriedly vacating the warm-up with an illness.
Kalvin Phillips got a run out, Young Boys didn’t register a shot and City won a 23rd straight home game in this calendar year.
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