Erling Haaland has made history again. This time with a remarkable five-goal haul that helped Manchester City secure a resounding 6-3 win against RB Leipzig in the Champions League Round of 16.
The Norwegian striker’s virtuoso performance not only blew the opposition away but also broke long-standing Champions League and Manchester City records.
Haaland’s five goals moved him beyond the 30-goal mark in the Champions League, becoming the youngest goal scorer in the competition to reach that milestone at just 22 years and 236 days old.
The youngest players to score 30 Champions League goals 👀 pic.twitter.com/EBXirjZacC
— GOAL (@goal) March 14, 2023
The previous youngest striker, Kylian Mbappe, achieved this at 22 years and 352 days old. The victory also ended Manchester City’s long-standing record of Tommy Johnson’s 38 goals in a single season, a record that has stood for 94 years.
Haaland’s Other Achievements
During the match, Haaland’s first-half hat-trick was followed by two more goals in the second half, taking his tally to 39 goals in just 36 games since joining City last summer.
🚨 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗥𝗗: Erling Haaland has now scored 39 goals this season for Manchester City, a new club-record. ⚽ pic.twitter.com/EuYVarRL7y
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) March 14, 2023
In an interview with BT Sport, Haaland said, “My super strength is scoring goals. A lot of it is being quick in the mind and trying to put it where the goalkeeper is not. I was so tired after my celebrations.”
In addition to breaking records from star players, Haaland’s 10 goals in the competition this season have surpassed any City player’s tally in a single campaign in the Champions League.
Haaland’s exceptional performance against Leipzig has also cemented his place as one of the greatest goalscorers in the Champions League, surpassing the likes of Wayne Rooney, Kaka, and Samuel Eto’o.
“I told him [manager Pep Guardiola] I would love to score a double hat-trick, but what can I do?” Haaland said.
With potentially 19 more games to play this season, Haaland’s devastating debut season in Manchester could see him break even more records.
Other than Haaland’s records, the win over RB Leipzig marks the 14th time Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City has faced Bundesliga opposition in the Champions League, boasting an impressive record of 10 victories, three draws, and just one defeat.
The victory at the Etihad Stadium marks City’s 24th home match in the Champions League since their opening game defeat against Lyon in the 2018/19 group stage. Remarkably, they have won 22 of those games, indicating how important home advantage has been to Guardiola’s side over the years.
Leipzig’s Concerning Collapse
While City was brilliant and ruthless in their victory, the night proved hugely concerning for RB Leipzig, who collapsed and played themselves into trouble throughout the match.
The visitors created multiple clear goalscoring opportunities before breaking the deadlock, while their first two goals stemmed from individual errors and poor judgment from the visitors. The manner of their defeat may set alarm bells ringing.
Controversial Handball Decision
Despite the convincing outcome of City’s victory, the nature of their first goal proved to be hugely controversial. The decision to award a penalty after Rodri’s header brushed the arm of Benjamin Henrichs, who had his back to the ball, felt inconsistent and harsh.
In conclusion, the match at the Etihad Stadium was a historic evening showcasing the brilliance of one player and Manchester United’s skills.
However, the controversial handball decision and Leipzig’s concerning collapse prove that there is still room for improvement and evolution in the game.