Erling Haaland continues hot streak as Manchester City burn ahead of Sevilla

Erling Haaland is unmissable. At least that’s how it felt in Sevilla, and how it’s starting to feel in stadiums everywhere. Pep Guardiola had insisted it wasn’t just about the Norwegian and if Manchester City didn’t play well they wouldn’t win. Here they played well – as evidenced by Ederson’s easy first save, which only came in the 80th minute – they won and he scored. Yes of course. Twice, in fact.

The man who raced for a goal every 44 minutes got two more in 69 en route to a 4-0 victory as another Champions League campaign opens with demands that it end with the trophy. “I love this routine, and it’s a routine after every game, talking about him and his goals,” Guardiola said. “He is always there, always. There is always the feeling that he can score more goals.

The fact that it was expected shouldn’t overshadow the quality, although Guardiola admitted it didn’t always look like a 4-0. For Sevilla, certainly, there was a sense that it would always happen. “And to top it off, Man City,” a headline said beforehand. Sevilla went into crisis, suffering their worst start to a season in 41 years. The last thing they wanted was for Guardiola’s team to show up: the last thing they wanted was him.

The last time they faced him, Haaland netted four of Dortmund’s five in a 5-4 aggregate win. That night in that stadium, you could hear the fear every time he got up and ran, the audible breathing, the sound of the boot against the ball, a boom echoing around. It was then empty, which may have exaggerated this feeling; it wasn’t empty now but the net result was about the same.

Despite all their troubles, the home fans raised the roof. There was a roar when Papu Gómez produced an early nutmeg and they tried to carry their team through the crisis. In the end, however, they were chanting for the president to resign. Sevilla’s start was brilliant. It was also brief, with the nervousness inside their zone on 11 minutes indicating that they already realized it was going to be a long night.*

City took control, Jack Grealish hit the side netting. When Haaland accelerated from top to bottom, Sevilla had a familiar feeling, a flash of deja vu, backing off at the start of that scramble.

Twice Kevin De Bruyne struck over. Marcos Acuña cut one in Phil Foden’s toe. It was relentless, in its own way: not intense as such, and not a storm, but insistent. And then the goal came, which seemed obvious – both in execution and expectation.

A move that has been seen a thousand times before and could be seen a thousand more, saw Foden roll that little pass diagonally to one side of the full-back.

De Bruyne passed him on the other to recover and ran through the six-yard box. Diving, leg out, it was Haaland. “He has this innate instinct to be in the right place at the right time: not a second too early, not a second too late,” Guardiola said.

The whistles of Sevilla fans quickly followed, frustrated that City kept the ball. That they were aiming for something, anything, was reflected in the roar that met the first corner and the first shot, Acuña’s effort going very far but still getting a “huuy”. It was even stronger when Jesús Navas – once of Manchester City – Thomas Delaney and Gómez combined perfectly, a sign that they could play a bit after all.

Erling Haaland leaps to open the scoring against Sevilla.
Erling Haaland leaps to open the scoring against Sevilla. Photography: David Ramos/Getty Images

When Sevilla pressed there was a sense of life, of rebellion, and the fans pushed them harder and higher. But that insistence also seemed to invite them into a trap and the second half brought wider spaces, more chances and more goals for City. De Bruyne, cleared from the defense, was denied by Bono, Haaland might have converted a header and João Cancelo scuffed before Rodri leaned in for a shot. And then came the second, just as Sevilla stepped in. “We scored when they were at their best,” Guardiola conceded.

City found room to run, Cancelo found Foden who moved back and forth past Nemanja Gudelj and finished cleanly. A glorious cut pass from De Bruyne, looping and spinning to the right, then started a move that ended with City sinking the ball. The flag raised didn’t count, but what came next did. Foden was at that time and although Bono had saved, Haaland was there, in the right place, at the right time, to come home.

It was removed shortly thereafter. His work here was done, another complete destruction. But City were not, with Rúben Dias signing fourth in injury time.

Erling Haaland continues hot streak as Manchester City burn ahead of Sevilla

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