Match Report

Classy City open Champions League campaign in fine style

MAIN MAN: Haaland and co celebrate the opener.
Champions League
Champions League
Tue 6 Sep
0
4
Erling Haaland 
(20', 67'),  
Phil Foden 
(58'),  
Ruben Dias 
(92')
Erling Haaland claimed a brace of goals with Phil Foden and Ruben Dias also on target as City began our Champions League campaign in fine fashion with an impressive 4-0 win away at Sevilla.

Norwegian striker Haaland continued his sensational start to his City career by volleying home his 11th goal of the season to give Pep Guardiola’s side a 20th minute lead.

In what was a fine all-round display in southern Spain, Foden then deservedly doubled our advantage with a fine 59th minute effort.

Goal machine Haaland then struck again on 66 minutes, latching onto a rebound after a Foden shot had been parried to make it 12 goals for the season.

And deep in injury time, Ruben Dias was there from close range to seal a superb night’s work and get our European campaign off to a flying start.

What happened

Sevilla may have endured a tough start to the La Liga campaign with Julen Lopetegui’s side still seeking a first win but there was a vibrant, partisan atmosphere at the Estadio Raman Sanchez-Pizjuan for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s champions.

There may have been a new look to City’s back line with summer signings Manuel Akanji handed a debut and left-back Sergio Gomez afforded a first start.

But there was a comforting familiarity about City’s possession game and fierce pressing - and Haaland's omnipresent goal threat.

ON TARGET : Erling Haaland volleys City ahead
ON TARGET : Erling Haaland volleys City ahead

After a patient first quarter of an hour, City didn’t have to wait too much longer for the breakthrough – and it was the Haaland Kevin De Bruyne partnership that paid dividends once again on 20 minutes.

As at Villa Park on Saturday, skipper for the night De Bruyne was the architect opening up a fraction of space on the right-hand edge of the box before looking up to see the onrushing Haaland.

Our Norwegian striker timed his run to back post t perfection and rifled home a close-range volley to register his 11th goal of the season.

A trademark curling De Bruyne free-kick was a fraction short of doubling our advantage on the half hour before Sevilla keeper Bono had to go down to his left and parry away a Haaland snap shot.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic and Sevilla’s best moment of the half on 40 minutes saw a neat Thomas Delaney lay-off open up an inviting window in the box for Papu Gomez but, fortunately, his effort was wide.

City had a gilt-edged opportunity to double our advantage three minutes into the second half when Haaland and De Bruyne combined on a lightning-fast attack.

CELEBRATION TIME : Our Norwegian striker marks another fine goal
CELEBRATION TIME : Our Norwegian striker marks another fine goal

The Norwegian’s lay-off saw De Bruyne sprint through clear on goal but the skipper was denied by a smart save from the Sevilla keeper who pushed a low shot behind,

However, City were not to be denied and our deserved second goal finally arrived on 58 minutes from Foden.

The England international had initiated the move and then gathered a return ball from Joao Cancelo in the heart of the Sevilla box.

There was still work to do but Foden shimmied one way then the other before despatching a fine left footed shot into the corner of the net.

City weren’t finished there and that man Haaland – who else – then demonstrated his propensity for being in the right place at the right time as he bagged his brace on 68 minutes.

Though a Foden snapshot was parried by Bono, Haaland showed his predatory instincts once again by snaffling up the rebound.

And a fine night's work was then capped in injury time as Cancelo picked out Portuguese compatriot who struck from close range for his first ever Champions League goal.

VISION ON : Sergio Gomez looks to get City on the front foot again
VISION ON : Sergio Gomez looks to get City on the front foot again

Teams

SEVILLA: Bono, Jesús Navas, Carmona, Nianzou, Acuña, Gudelj, Delaney (Jordan 45), Rakitic (Rafa Mir 45), Papu Gómez, Telles (Dolberg 54), Isco

Subs: Dmitrovic, Montiel, Rekik, Suso, Januzaj, En-Nesri, Fernando, Kike Salas, Alberto F

CITY: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Akanji, Gomez, Rodrigo (Phillips 78), De Bruyne (c) (Mahrez 78), Bernardo, Foden (Palmer 71), Haaland (Alvarez 71), Grealish (Gundogan 62)
Subs: Ortega, Carson, Ake, Lewis, Wilson-Esbrand

Man of the match

Phil Foden was at his inspired, creative best and capped a fine night's individual work with a deserved second half goal.

He again married inspiration with perspiration and embodied all that is great about Pep Guardiola's City.

All fired up

Erling Haaland continued his sensational start to life at City by taking his tally for the season to 12 goals in just seven games.

The brace took the Norwegian’s tally in Champions League to 25 goals from 20 appearances – a staggering return rate.

TWO'S COMPANY : Phil Foden celebrates his goal with Joao Cancelo
TWO'S COMPANY : Phil Foden celebrates his goal with Joao Cancelo

What’s more in scoring tonight, Haaland became only the fourth player in UEFA Champions League history to score in his first appearance for three different teams (Salzburg, Borussia Dortmund and City), after Fernando Morientes, Javier Saviola and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Further confirmation, as if any we needed, of his quality and consistency.

Solid start

It was an impressive night’s work for new signing Manuel Akanji who slotted in impressively on what was his City debut.

Despite having only been at the Club less than a week after his arrival from Borussia Dortmund, the Swiss international was assured in possession and linked up seamlessly alongside fellow centre half Ruben Dias which only augurs well as we enter a packed schedule.

It was also a fine first start for fellow summer signing Sergio Gomez who was deployed at left-back and handled all that Sevilla sought to throw at him with aplomb.

He also showed his quality going forward, picking out Haaland with a superb second half cross that almost garnered another goal.

BRACE YOURSELVES : Erling celebrates his second and City's third
BRACE YOURSELVES : Erling celebrates his second and City's third

Pep’s verdict

"I think Erling's numbers in all his career, even in previous teams, is quite similar. He has an incredible sense of goal.

"We have incredible numbers in terms of goals and we need to continue like that. Another battle against Tottenham on Saturday  and hopefully we can continue.

"Manuel Akanji was really good. Really intelligent and great with the ball. City brought me and the club a fantastic player. He’s a fantastic age and mature so yeah, really good."

What it means

City make the perfect start to our Group G campaign with a three-point haul from our opening match.

In the night’s other game in Group G Borussia Dortmund beat FC Copenhagen 3-0 in Germany.

Our next Champions League assignment sees Dortmund visit the Etihad next Wednesday in an 8pm kick-off.

That should be a cracker!

What’s next

City are back in Premier League action on Saturday when we play host to Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium.

Kick-off for what should be an enthralling clash between the sides lying in second and third place in the table is set for 17.30pm (BST).

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