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Manchester City stormed into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with an utterly dominant 7-0 victory over RB Leipzig.
Erling Haaland scored five to seal a scoreline which by no means flattered City. The home side could hardly have been more on-top if they had tried and would have undoubtedly scored more goals had Pep Guardiola not withdrawn his big names early.
It was all City straight away, with Pep Guardiola’s side boasting well over 60% possession after 15 minutes, and some penalty box pinball left the dominant hosts wondering how they had not yet opened the scoring.
Fortunately for City, VAR called the referee over to penalise a handball from Benjamin Henrichs in amongst the chaos, and Haaland made no mistake from 12 yards.
Before fans could even catch their breath, Kevin De Bruyne sent a strike from range crashing against the bar but Haaland was there to sweep up and head home the rebound 77 seconds after his first goal.
City’s defending got a little scrappy after that and Ederson was fortunate not to avoid punishment for a clumsy challenge on Konrad Laimer which somehow ended up being given in the goalkeeper’s favour.
However, City’s concerns didn’t last long as Haaland completed his hat-trick by bundling home from a corner with the final kick of the first half, pouncing into action after Ruben Dias’ header had trickled across the goal-line.
The hosts’ relentless tempo continued after the break and Ilkay Gundogan added a fourth with a low strike from the edge of the box just four minutes after the restart.
Four more minutes passed before City were celebrating again. It was Haaland once more, thundering home from a corner to match the team’s all-time season scoring record with 38, and he broke it almost straight after when he tapped home another rebound to add his fifth on the evening.
Guardiola showed mercy on the hour mark by withdrawing Haaland, after which the tempo of the game died down. City were content controlling the ball and Leipzig were already dreaming of the flight home.
There was still time for a seventh, and it was the pick of the bunch. De Bruyne curled home a glorious strike from range in the dying embers, capping off what was an utterly superb performance from the Belgian.
GK: Ederson – 6/10 – A moment of madness for his collision with Laimer but atoned for it with some excellent passing.
RB: John Stones – 8/10 – Excellent in the inverted full-back role. So composed on the ball and physically dominant to give City that extra boost.
CB: Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – Can’t really say he did much wrong but Akanji definitely looked the weakest out of City’s centre-backs.
CB: Ruben Dias – 7/10 – Dominant at the back once again. Never looked under any pressure.
LB: Nathan Ake – 7/10 – Another excellent performance from Ake, who is still not actually a left-back.
DM: Rodri – 6/10 – Not his typical composed self. A few nervy passes at the back as Stones appeared to take his spotlight.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 10/10 – Those critics of his recent form will be keeping quiet after this one. The Belgian was back to his mesmeric best.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 8/10 – Sloppy in the first half but clearly found his shooting boots at the break.
RW: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – Not as involved as a lot of his teammates but still caused plenty of problems.
ST: Erling Haaland – 10/10 – Was impressing even before the goals started flying in. Really felt like part of a whole team performance here. Absolutely unplayable.
LW: Jack Grealish – 8/10 – A constant threat down the left. Great play alongside Ake.
Phil Foden (55′ for Grealish) – 7/10
Riyad Mahrez (55′ for Gundogan) – 8/10
Julian Alvarez (63′ for Haaland) – 6/10
Sergio Gomez (63′ for Stones) – 6/10
Kalvin Phillips (63′ for Rodri) – 6/10
Pep Guardiola – 10/10 – Keeping faith with De Bruyne was the right call from Guardiola, whose use of Stones in midfield also a stroke of genius. Couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect evening.
GK: Janis Blaswich – 4/10 – Impressed when he wasn’t picking the ball out the back of his net. Couldn’t do anything about the goals and even went the right way for the penalty.
RB: Benjamin Henrichs – 1/10 – Unfortunate with the handball call but it summed up a challenging evening for the right-back.
CB: Willi Orban – 1/10 – Absolutely destroyed by Haaland’s power and speed. Couldn’t do anything about the City striker.
CB: Josko Gvardiol – 1/10 – On the day he was being touted as ‘The Haaland of centre-backs’, Gvardiol looked nowhere near the Norwegian’s level.
LB: David Raum – 1/10 – Seemingly decided just not to track De Bruyne. Watched on as the midfielder ran the show.
DM: Kevin Kampl – 1/10 – Hammered by Stones and Rodri. Chasing shadows all game.
DM: Amadou Haidara – 4/10 – Actually didn’t do bad at all. Held his own but was left on an island at times.
RM: Konrad Laimer – 2/10 – Deserved the free-kick when he was assaulted by Ederson but was otherwise out of the action.
AM: Emil Forsberg – 3/10 – Had the odd nice moment of movement but could never get close to his best level.
LM: Dominik Szoboszlai – 4/10 – Carried Leipzig’s attack but couldn’t do everything himself.
ST: Timo Werner – 2/10 – Barely had any chances to get involved.
Yussuf Poulsen (62′ for Werner) – 5/10
Andre Silva (62′ for Forsberg) – 5/10
Mohamed Simakan (62′ for Haidara) – 5/10
Dani Olmo (72′ for Szoboszlai) – 5/10
Lukas Klostermann (80′ for Henrichs) – N/A
Marco Rose – 1/10 – Kampl deep in midfield was a disastrous shout from Rose, who didn’t even make a substitution until his team were six goals down. Did he think they could turn it around at 5-0?