Football News

Erling Haaland breaks even more records to send Man City into Champions League quarter-finals

By Harry Edwards

Published: 21:51, 14 March 2023

It was another record-breaking night for Erling Haaland as he scored five goals in Manchester City’s 7-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League last 16.

Man City went into the second leg of their last 16 tie against RB Leipzig on level terms after a 1-1 draw in the first game, which saw the German side turn up the pressure in the second half when Pep Guardiola’s side should have been in control.

It’s been a hat-trick of wins in the Premier League for Man City since that game, as well as one in the FA Cup, to keep their domestic trophy hunt going. But, of course, all the focus is on the one trophy which still eludes them – the Champions League.

Man City were in control from the start of the game, looking to right any wrongs from the first leg, but there was a touch of fortune in their opener. Jack Grealish had whipped the ball in from a corner and Rodri’s header towards goal brushed the arm hair of Benjamin Henrichs. Handball wasn’t given initially and play went on for a bit, but was later awarded by VAR.

Whether you think it was a penalty or not, and there was a general consensus on social media of not, Man City still had to score it. Fresh from winning the game against Crystal Palace at the weekend with a spot-kick, Haaland stepped up and just about beat goalkeeper Janis Blaswich.

Fastest to 30 Champions League goals

RB Leipzig were shaken by the goal, no doubt a blow to their game plan and 78 seconds later it was two. Haaland was at the heart of this, first closing down goalkeeper Blaswich and then playing the ball to Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgian took a shot and his effort hit the bar, but there was Haaland to head home, the 30th Champions League goal of his career. That was the record-breaking moment for Haaland, as he became not only the fastest player to reach 30 Champions League goals (taking 25 games, nine fewer than Ruud van Nistelrooy) but also the youngest – beating Kylian Mbappe’s record, aged 22 days and 236 days.

But, of course, with this being Haaland the Norwegian wasn’t done there – those were just the first two records of the night. Just before half-time the perfect hat-trick was complete, with Haaland bundling the ball over the line after Ruben Dias’ header had not quite made it into the net.

It was Haaland’s fifth hat-trick of the season across all competitions, three more than any other player from one of Europe’s top five leagues.

Most Man City Champions League goals in a single season

With the game surely won at half-time, some may have expected Haaland to come off at the break but he was there when the two teams returned, and Man City weren’t resting on their laurels. Within five minutes of the restart, Man City were 4-0 up on the night with Ilkay Gundogan capping off an excellent team goal.

And then the Haaland show returned again. Haaland’s fourth of the night came from a Man City corner and was a bit of a mess, but they all count. The Norwegian had a header initially saved after a well-worked routine, and Manuel Akanji’s follow up effort was also blocked, but RB Leipzig were unable to stop Haaland’s second attempt.

Another corner brought goal number six for Man City and five for Haaland, and again the Norwegian was the quickest to respond following a save from the goalkeeper, sending the ball into the back of the net with an instinctive finish. In doing so, Haaland became the third player to score five goals in a single Champions League game after Luiz Adriano in October 2014 and Lionel Messi in March 2012.

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It also took Haaland to 10 Champions League goals for the season, the most by a Man City player in a single campaign, smashing Riyad Mahrez’s previous record of seven (set in 2021/22). Having already reached double figures for Borussia Dortmund, Haaland is just the second player to score 10+ Champions League goals in a single season for two different clubs after Robert Lewandowski did so for Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

These won’t be the only Champions League records he breaks in his career, and in one night alone Haaland overtook David Trezeguet, Roy Makaay, Patrick Kluivert, Samuel Eto’o, Antoine Griezmann, Wayne Rooney, Kaka, Paco Gento and Arjen Robben on the list of the Champions League’s all-time top scorers.

He is now level with Fernando Morientes on 33 games, but has played 68 games fewer than the Spaniard, and only 22 players have scored more in the competition’s history (including when it was known as the European Cup). A reminder, Haaland has played 25 games.

Most Man City goals in a single season

Guardiola was merciful to RB Leipzig in the 62nd minute, taking Haaland off for Julian Alvarez, which also gave the Norwegian the chance to receive a much-deserved standing ovation including from his dad watching on.

“I told him [Guardidola] when I went off ‘I would love to score a double hat-trick’ but what can we do. I had to go off,” Haaland said to BT Sport after the game.

Fans in attendance at the Etihad were witnessing history on Tuesday night, as Haaland broke another club record, and a long-standing one. His 39th goal for the season across all competitions, Haaland has now score more goals in a single campaign than any other player in the club’s history, breaking Tommy Johnson’s record of 38 set in 1928/29. And we’re only in March.

There was still time for Kevin De Bruyne to get in on the act in injury time, making it 7-0 on the night and 8-1 on aggregate with a fantastic curling finish into the top corner.