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Erling Haaland’s five-goal masterclass fired Manchester City into the Champions League quarter-finals as they dismantled RB Leipzig in a 7-0 rout on Tuesday.
The striker nabbed a first-half hat-trick, including two goals in two minutes, before adding another two after the restart in a tour-de-force performance at the Etihad Stadium for a 8-1 aggregate victory.
Now with 39 goals for the season, Haaland’s haul saw him take Tommy Johnson’s single-season City record set in 1928-29 among a series of new high marks as Pep Guardiola’s hosts tied their record margin of victory in European competition.
Also the youngest and fastest player to pass 30 Champions League goals, Haaland’s historic numbers befitted a majestic display up front, with his latest turn destined to go down in European folklore no matter what happens next.
5 – Erling Haaland is the third player to score five goals in a single UEFA Champions League game after Luiz Adriano in October 2014 (Shakhtar Donetsk vs BATE Borisov) and Lionel Messi in March 2012 (Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen). Playground. pic.twitter.com/0eWf7fsxgv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 14, 2023
Haaland was handed a stroke of luck for his first, with City awarded a dubious penalty by referee Slavko Vincic for a handball strongly protested by Benjamin Henrichs.
He ruthlessly converted from the spot, however, and then doubled his tally just moments later when he nodded home a rebound after Kevin De Bruyne hit the crossbar.
A first-half hat-trick followed with an air of inevitability when Haaland pounced on a parried Ruben Dias header before the break to bundle in the third from close range.
Ilkay Gundogan ensured another name at least got on the scoresheet when he added City’s fourth with a sweeping low finish four minutes after the restart.
Yet the game belonged to Haaland, who added another two with close-range strikes before the hour, both times pouncing after Manuel Akanji was denied.
Haaland’s exit in the 63rd minute was greeted with a standing ovation, denying him an unprecedented double hat-trick but saving the City striker ahead of a quarter-final in which further records could fall.
The scoring was not quite over, though, as De Bruyne would not be denied and added a sublime seventh in stoppage time for a final touch of gloss.
What does it mean? Haaland the hero
Only two other players had ever scored five goals in a Champions League match, in Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano, before the Norway man stepped out this week. They have a third man in their exclusive club now.
There are another four games before a potential final, but nobody will fancy playing City while Haaland is in this sort of form.
Hat-trick hot stuff
Although he fell short of a historic double hat-trick, Haaland still added a fifth treble across all competitions this season with his latest effort at the Etihad Stadium.
That is three more than any player in Europe’s top five leagues this season and sees him become the first Premier League player to achieve the feat since Harry Kane in 2016-17.
Leipzig off the pace
Having headed to Manchester on a five-match unbeaten run in the competition, Marco Rose’s side were hopeful of grinding out an upset win after sharing the spoils back home.
Instead, they managed just one shot on target against 16 for their hosts and failed to match the relentlessness displayed by City, with the tie effectively over inside half an hour.
Key Opta Facts
– Guardiola has won 13 of his 14 ties in the last 16 of the Champions League as a manager, progressing at this stage in each of the last six attempts with City.
– Leipzig have lost each of their last four away matches against English clubs in the Champions League conceding 20 goals in the process.
– Haaland has scored 10 goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a City player in a single season in the competition.
Leipzig head to Bochum in the Bundesliga on Saturday, while City stay in knockout competition with an FA Cup quarter-final against Burnley on the same day.