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Despite being injured, Erling Haaland managed to score two goals as Manchester City, the defending champions, easily advanced to the round of 16 in the Champions League with a 3-0 victory against Young Boys, who were down to 10 men.
The prolific Norwegian player scored his 15th goal of the season, including a penalty and a long-range shot, as City effortlessly defeated the Swiss champions at the Etihad Stadium. This win marks their fourth consecutive victory in Group G.
City’s Phil Foden was also able to score, helping his team secure a spot in the knockout stages for the 11th year in a row. They dominated their opponents, who were unable to even take a single shot and had Sandro Lauper receive a red card in the second half.
Usually, Haaland was the standout performer after recovering from the ankle injury that caused him to be substituted during the match against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola may have chosen to give his top attacker a break in preparation for Sunday’s match against Chelsea, but he chose to play them and was ultimately rewarded with a precise and efficient performance.
Six alterations were implemented, resulting in Jeremy Doku, Rodri, and Bernardo Silva being relegated to the substitutes’ bench. However, the reentry of Foden and Jack Grealish added even more attacking prowess.
The City team was dominant against the uninspired visitors, controlling the game with ease and strength without ever reaching their top gear.
The only source of energy for Young Boys was their enthusiastic supporters, who entered the stadium wearing black or yellow based on their seating tier and set off fireworks during the second half.
The city team missed an opportunity to score early on, despite a great pass from Mateo Kovavic to Grealish and a perfect set-up for Rico Lewis. However, Lewis was unable to successfully kick the ball into the net, as Loris Benito managed to stop it at the goal line.
Kovacic and Haaland displayed good teamwork, but Haaland was fouled on the edge of the penalty area. Kyle Walker took the resulting free kick, which was saved by Anthony Racioppi. The keeper quickly recovered to stop Foden’s follow-up attempt.
After Matheus Nunes was fouled inside the area by Lauper, the inevitable opening goal was scored at the 23-minute mark. Despite already receiving a yellow card, Lauper managed to avoid a second booking.
Haaland did not make any errors as he shot the ball in the opposite direction from Racioppi’s position.
Haaland was poised to score his second goal after receiving a pass from Walker, but a deflection from a defender caused him to lose control as he prepared to take a shot.
Before the break, City extended their lead when Foden received a fantastic pass from Grealish and maneuvered past Ulisses Garcia to score from a difficult angle.
In the second half, Haaland scored the third goal following a speedy run from Lewis. He struck the ball with great force, turning and shooting from just outside the penalty box.
The troubles for Young Boys were made worse when Lauper was given his second yellow card for a rough tackle on substitute Nathan Ake.
Haaland was substituted in the 60th minute and City expertly finished out the rest of the game, with Kovacic and substitute Kalvin Phillips also having opportunities to score.