Match Report

Haaland bags brace as City open title defence in style

FIST PUMP: Haaland celebrates.
Premier League
Premier League
Fri 11 Aug
Erling Haaland 
(4', 36'),  
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Erling Haaland scored a brilliant brace with Rodrigo also on target as Manchester City began the defence of our Premier League title in fine style with a hugely impressive 3-0 win at newly-promoted Burnley.

Just as 12 months ago at West Ham, Norwegian striker Haaland marked the start of the new season in emphatic fashion, despatching two wonderful first half strikes at Turf Moor to get Pep Guardiola’s side pursuit of a fourth consecutive league title off to a convincing start.

It was also the perfect answer to those who had wondered how Haaland would follow on from last season’s remarkable 52-goal debut season haul.

A close-range finish from Rodrigo 15 minutes from time then added further gloss to a thoroughly professional performance from Guardiola’s side

Vincent Kompany’s Clarets proved dogged and determined opponents but City’s class and composure – the hallmarks of last season’s historic Treble campaign – were again evident from the off.

There was also a second half debut for new signing Josko Gvardiol as he received his introduction to the Premier League while the hosts were reduced to 10-men in injury time after a red card for Anass Zaroury.

The only downside to the night for City was the sight of skipper Kevin De Bruyne having to make way through injury midway through the first half.

What happened

There was an eager air of expectation at Turf Moor as the serious business of our Premier League title defence got back underway.

Just over two months after that magical night in Istanbul where City carved the Club’s name into footballing immortality by clinching the Champions League and with it the Treble, the hunt for silverware got underway once again.

PERFECT START: Erling Haaland celebrates firing City ahead.
PERFECT START: Erling Haaland celebrates firing City ahead.

However, at a packed noisy Turf Moor with Burnley back in the big time under the stewardship of Vincent Kompany it promised to be a tough and demanding encounter.

But it took less than four minutes for the champions to illustrate our quality through that man Haaland as he began the task of seeking to follow up last season’s astonishing 52 goal haul in emphatic fashion.

The opener all came about from a Kevin De Bruyne corner, the ball was worked back to the skipper who whipped in an arcing cross from the right flank to the back post.

It was met by Rodrigo who powered a fine header back into the box and last season’s top scorer Haaland, who else, was there to instantly fire home a crisp eight-yard finish to give City the perfect start.

Another sweeping move then saw De Bruyne find Haaland again lurking at the back post only for the strength of the delivery deny him proper purchase on his strike.

The Clarets though gave City a moment of concern as Burnley put together a decent passage of play to illustrate their own quality before winger Luca Koleosho fired a 20 yard over the bar.

At the other end, former City Academy graduate and new Burnley keeper James Trafford illustrated his quality with an excellent save to deny Rodrigo’s close-range header.

BLOW: City's fine early start was clouded by the loss of Kevin De Bruyne through injury.
BLOW: City's fine early start was clouded by the loss of Kevin De Bruyne through injury.

There was a blow for City midway through the first half when De Bruyne, who had looked in imperious form, was forced off the field through injury, the Belgian being replaced by Mateo Kovacic with Kyle Walker being handed the captain’s armband.

After Rodrigo had produced a timely challenge to nick the ball off the advancing Zeki Amdouni, Lyle Foster then got the home fans up off their seats, the South African sprinting past two challenges on the left flank before cutting inside and curling a dangerous shot just the wrong side of Ederson’s far post.

City though responded in thrilling fashion on 37 minutes as Haaland once again illustrated why he is the pre-eminent striker operating in the game.

A patient City build-up clicked into gear as Foden fed the advancing Kyle Walker on a right-wing overlap.

The England full back drilled the ball into the path of Julian Alvarez in the heart of the Burnley box and the Argentine in turn fed the waiting Haaland.

The Norwegian turned inside before instinctively curling home a stunning left footed effort from 12 yards that went in off the underside of the bar leaving Trafford helpless.

It was another sublime demonstration of the finishing prowess that marks the 23-year-old apart.

DOUBLE DELIGHT: Haaland celebrates with Kyle Walker after firing home his second goal.
DOUBLE DELIGHT: Haaland celebrates with Kyle Walker after firing home his second goal.

City’s dominance continued after the break with Trafford twice denying Rodrigo within the opening 10 minutes of the restart.

But the Spaniard was not to be denied and with 15 minutes left he extended our advantage, firing home from close range after a scramble in the Burnley box from Phil Foden’s free-kick.

Summer signing Josko Gvardiol was then ushered on for his City debut as he was given a brief initial taste of the Premier League.

And a tough night for Burnley was compounded deep in injury time when Anass Zaroury was shown a straight card by referee Craig Pawson after a VAR check for a poor challenge on Kyle Walker


BURNLEY: Trafford, O'Shea, Beyer (Benson 74), Al-Dakhil, Roberts, Berge (Brownhill 90), Cullen, Koleosho (Bruun Larsen 61), Vitinho, Foster (Redmond 90), Amdouni (Zaroury 61)

Subs: Cork, Gudmundsson, Manuel, Ekdal, Muric.

CITY: Ederson, Walker (McAtee 90), Akanji, Ake (Laporte 80), Lewis (Gvardiol 80), Rodrigo, De Bruyne (C) (Kovacic 23), Bernardo, Foden, Alvarez, Haaland (Palmer 80)

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Phillips, Grealish, Gómez.


Erling Haaland simply picked up from where he left off last term.

To those wondering how on earth the City striker could top the 52 goal heroics of his debut campaign, this was the perfect answer.

THE BOSS: Pep Guardiola watches over proceedings.
THE BOSS: Pep Guardiola watches over proceedings.

As with last season on his debut at West Ham, Haaland marked the first day of the new Premier League season with a brilliant brace, executing both of his goals with sublime technique and a master predator’s instinct.

The second took his tally in Europe’s top five leagues to 100 goals (63 for Borussia Dortmund, 37 for City) and meant that he has now scored at least one goal against 35 of the 40 teams he has faced with Dortmund and City in league football.

What’s more the feat also meant Haaland is only the second player to score two goals in a team's opening game of a Premier League season in consecutive seasons.

The only other player to have achieved the feat is Didier Drogba in 2009-10 (two vs Hull) and 2010-11 (three vs West Brom) for Chelsea.

Perfect dozen

Burnley could be forgiven for dreading the prospect of playing City.

Friday’s win was our 12th consecutive triumph over the Clarets in all competitions.

Over the course of that remarkable run, the aggregate scoreline is now 43-1 in City’s favour.

Incredible stats.

Pep’s reaction

"We started well. We found a goal, we struggled a bit after. We gave away balls, our pass created problems but after a while we played much, much better.

"The first game against a newly promoted will always be difficult. They give everything but we were fortunate to find a goal so quick.

We gave chance to them and we have to improve."

On Kevin De Bruyne: "He was injured again unfortunately.

"Same place and position as the Champions League and he will be out for a while."

Erling haaland reaction

"Good to start again. It’s been two months, so it's good to start with a win of course.

"We did it quite controlled, we did quite well. We’re in the start phase of this marathon. It’s about not stressing, to relax and focus on ourselves.

"I just have to keep on working, keep on relaxing and keep on not thinking too much. To not focus on negative things.

"I cannot think too much about this. If you do you will become crazy in the head. People forget fast that we are Treble winners. We have to chase things again I guess."

ACTION MAN: Phil Foden weighs up the options.
ACTION MAN: Phil Foden weighs up the options.

What it means

The reigning champions make the perfect start to the defence of our Premier League title.

A Friday night trip to a fired-up Clarets in front of a packed and noisy Turf Moor made for the trickiest and testing of opening assignments.

City however went about our business in exemplary fashion to send out the clearest signal that we mean business once again as we seek what would be an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title.

One down, 37 to go!

THREE CHEERS: Rodrigo celebrates his strike.
THREE CHEERS: Rodrigo celebrates his strike.

What’s next

City are back in action on Wednesday when we travel to Athens, Greece to take on Spanish side Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup final.

It’s a prestigious clash that brings together Champions League holders City and reigning Europa League champions Sevilla, with the game taking place at the Karaiskakis Stadium, home of Greek side Olympiakos.

The game takes place on Wednesday, August 16 with kick-of set for 20.00 (BST).

INTO BATTLE: Josko Gvardiol gets an early taste of the ball on his City debut.
INTO BATTLE: Josko Gvardiol gets an early taste of the ball on his City debut.

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