Man City 7-0 RB Leipzig (agg 8-1): Erling Haaland scores five in rout to reach Champions League quarter-finals
Record-breaking Erling Haaland delivered one of the most devastatingly clinical performances in Champions League history as Manchester City ran riot against RB Leipzig to breeze into the quarter-finals in their joint-biggest European win.
The remarkable Norwegian striker became just the third player ever to notch five goals in a single Champions League fixture as Marco Rose’s Bundesliga outfit were blown away 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the emphatically one-sided second leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday night, demolished 8-1 on aggregate having managed an initial 1-1 draw in Germany three weeks ago.
Haaland - the youngest player to reach 30 goals in Europe’s elite club competition, beating Kylian Mbappe’s record - joined only Lionel Messi in terms of players to have scored so many in just one knockout fixture, having also matched and then surpassed City’s single-season scoring record on an unforgettable evening.
Tommy Johnson’s mark of 38 goals had stood for almost a century since the 1928-29 season, but Haaland’s five against Leipzig put him on 39 already across all competitions in a sublime first campaign since joining City from Borussia Dortmund in a £51million deal last summer. Incredibly, he’s achieved that number by mid-March in just 36 appearances under Pep Guardiola.
Haaland has five hat-tricks already for City and 17 for his career aged just 22, making a mockery of the oft-floated narrative that City are perhaps a better team when he is not the dominant focus up front.
Relive a record-breaking night for Erling Haaland at the Etihad
Captain Ilkay Gundogan was also on the scoresheet in a brutal drubbing that was finished off by a special strike from Kevin De Bruyne in second-half stoppage time.
City were in total control from the outset at a snowy Etihad, with early chances for Gundogan, Ruben Dias and Haaland as visiting goalkeeper Janis Blaswich initially stood firm.
Leipzig, hit for six on their previous visit to Manchester in 2021, sit third in the Bundesliga table and had only lost twice in all competitions since September, but they could not hold back the sky blue tide as Jack Grealish’s curled shot was blocked and they escaped a spot of pinball in their own box before Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic was advised by the VAR to go and check the pitchside monitor after a handball shout against Benjamin Henrichs as he challenged a Rodri header.
The penalty was harshly awarded and Haaland stepped up to power into the bottom corner despite Blaswich guessing the right way. He quickly made it two in just 78 seconds as City continued their relentless high press and got their reward, Haaland rising high to head in the rebound after De Bruyne - starting instead of Phil Foden in Guardiola’s only change from the side who beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park in the Premier League on Saturday - had rattled the crossbar.
Amadou Haidara had a very rare sight of goal for Leipzig and Haaland was denied again before Ederson came racing out of the City goal and pole-axed Konrad Laimer, but was adjudged to have won the ball. City then almost played themselves into real trouble inside their own box, but ex-Chelsea striker Timo Werner couldn’t find the finish.
That was to be their only blip as they looked like scoring every time they attacked, with Gundogan’s next strike repelled. Haaland registered his fifth City hat-trick on the stroke of half-time, with Haidara having blasted his attempted clearance straight against the striker after Dias’ header from a corner had hit the post and rolled across the line.
Any hopes of an extraordinary Leipzig comeback after the break were quickly extinguished when a special passing move that began all the way back with Ederson and featured the likes of Grealish, Haaland and De Bruyne was finished off expertly by an arrowed shot into the bottom corner from Gundogan.
Not merely content at 4-0 up in the game with a 5-1 aggregate lead, rampant City continued to hunt more goals and they soon had another as Haaland equalled Johnson’s record by scrambling in after initially seeing an effort saved by the unfortunate Blaswich.
The record was broken just four minutes later when Haaland again reacted fastest to guide home the rebound after Swiss defender Manuel Akanji had been thwarted.
Haaland was denied the chance for an incredibly rare double hat-trick as he was withdrawn shortly after the hour mark to a richly-deserved standing ovation, with Guardiola no doubt having one eye on Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final tie against a Burnley team managed by City legend Vincent Kompany.
City were content to take their foot off the gas leading 6-0 on the night and 7-1 on aggregate, but still had time for one more goal as the terrific De Bruyne smashed in a stellar effort with his right foot to set the seal on City’s joint-biggest European victory that will serve as a warning shot to their Champions League rivals and raise hopes that with Haaland leading the way, they may finally be able to end their long wait to claim the one major trophy that had continued to elude them.