historic quintuple for Erling Haaland, who qualifies Manchester City for the quarter-finals
The Norwegian striker scored five goals in less than an hour against Leipzig in the Champions League (7-0). His performance helped Manchester City qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.
To those who doubted his ability to improve Manchester City, Erling Haaland offered a thunderous reply on Tuesday 14 March at home. As a victim, RB Leipzig, eliminated by the Norwegian striker in the second leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League, at the Etihad Stadium. In fifty-eight minutes, Erling Haaland defeated the German club with five goals, and allowed his team to reach the quarter-finals without worries (7-0), just like Inter, author of a draw against Porto ( 0 -0).
In recent weeks, Erling Haaland has been the subject of an important question: is he really the ideal striker prototype for Pep Guardiola’s teams? His very pale exemplary returned in the first leg against Leipzig in Germany (1-1) thus came to confirm the doubts of the environment. Amusing situation for a player who has scored 34 goals in 35 games this season before Tuesday night’s second leg.
Asked about the matter in a pre-match press conference on Monday, Pep Guardiola confirmed he expected more from his 22-year-old striker. “I don’t like a player who only scores in the box. It’s important, we need him for this. But outside the opponent’s area he needs to be more active. When you look at him, he has to be involved. He has made some small progress in this area, he can still do it.“
Haaland loves balls in the box
On Tuesday evening, the Norwegian not only dispelled doubts but offered a good answer to his coach. In the first half, the “Cyborg” was available, often leaving to participate in the match: in forty-five minutes he touched 23 balls, one more than in the entire ninety minutes of the first leg. But Haaland is above all a scorer.”who won’t necessarily hit many balls”, judged his teammate Riyad Mahrez a few weeks ago. “It’s here to finish”assured City’s Algerian full-back.
Erling Haaland proved it again against Leipzig. Since his arrival, he has undeniably brought something Manchester City lacked: the instinct to score. As a good fox on the surface, the number 9 first converted a penalty (22nd), before scoring four goals for the Germans being in the right place at the right time (24th, 45th + 2, 53rd, 58th), as if the Norwegian magnetized the balls in the opposing penalty area.
Guardiola doesn’t want to rely on him alone
“He is an extraordinary goalscorer, always trying to score and help the team. He is the striker we needed‘admitted Cityzens goalkeeper Ederson a few weeks ago. Now top scorer in the Champions League this season with ten goals, Erling Haaland now has 33 goals in 25 matches in the competition. The Norwegian could also record a sixth in this match without stop by Janis Blaswich (11th), the Leipzig goalkeeper who multiplied his interventions despite the defeat of his team.
The festival ended on the hour when Pep Guardiola decided to remove his prolific striker from the field (63rd). The opportunity to let the striker breathe, who is one of the most used movement players at Manchester City this season. And to play Julian Alvarez, his replacement. “Erling has special qualities. In important matches he can solve the problems that arise. But if we put everything on his shoulders, we will never win the Champions League“, the Spanish coach recently explained.
Goals from Ilkay Gundogan (49th) and Kevin de Bruyne (90th+2) showed that Cityzen had other weapons. But Manchester City will still have a better chance of winning the most prestigious of European competitions with Erling Haaland on the field than without him.