Haaland scores five as City maul Leipzig
MANCHESTER, March 15: Erling Haaland’s five-goal masterclass fired Manchester City into the Champions League quarter-finals as they dismantled RB Leipzig in a 7-0 rout on Tuesday.
The striker nabbed a first-half hat-trick, including two goals in two minutes, before adding another two after the restart in a tour-de-force performance at the Etihad Stadium for a 8-1 aggregate victory.
Now with 39 goals for the season, Haaland’s haul saw him take Tommy Johnson’s single-season City record set in 1928-29 among a series of new high marks as Pep Guardiola’s hosts tied their record margin of victory in European competition.
Also the youngest and fastest player to pass 30 Champions League goals, Haaland’s historic numbers befitted a majestic display up front, with his latest turn destined to go down in European folklore no matter what happens next. Haaland was handed a stroke of luck for his first, with City awarded a dubious penalty by referee Slavko Vincic for a handball strongly protested by Benjamin Henrichs.
He ruthlessly converted from the spot, however, and then doubled his tally just moments later when he nodded home a rebound after Kevin De Bruyne hit the crossbar.
A first-half hat-trick followed with an air of inevitability when Haaland pounced on a parried Ruben Dias header before the break to bundle in the third from close range.
Ilkay Gundogan ensured another name at least got on the scoresheet when he added City’s fourth with a sweeping low finish four minutes after the restart.
Yet the game belonged to Haaland, who added another two with close-range strikes before the hour, both times pouncing after Manuel Akanji was denied.
Haaland’s exit in the 63rd minute was greeted with a standing ovation, denying him an unprecedented double hat-trick but saving the City striker ahead of a quarter-final in which further records could fall.
The scoring was not quite over, though, as De Bruyne would not be denied and added a sublime seventh in stoppage time for a final touch of gloss. Leipzig head to Bochum in the Bundesliga on Saturday, while City stay in knockout competition with an FA Cup quarter-final against Burnley on the same day.
Heroic defending and the woodwork helped Inter Milan reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in more than a decade.
Inter managed a 0-0 draw at Porto on Tuesday to progress 1-0 on aggregate and join city rival AC Milan in the final eight. Napoli could become the third Italian team in the quarterfinals when it plays Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday.
All the drama was saved for the fifth minute of stoppage time as a goalline clearance, the post and the crossbar prevented Porto from snatching the goal that would have taken the match to extra time.
“In football, luck matters relatively,” Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said. “I think that over the both legs we deserved to get to the quarterfinals, we didn’t concede a goal in the 180 minutes against a team that’s used to playing these sort of matches.
“We shouldn’t forget that last year we reached the round of 16 for the first time after more than 10 years, this year the quarterfinals … Now we will play with a lot of confidence.”
There were few other concrete chances as Inter did enough to ensure it advanced to the final eight for the first time since going out at that stage as the defending champion in 2011. Several Porto players dropped to the ground in tears at the final whistle.
There are no further restrictions on teams from the same country facing each other so the two Milan sides could be pitted against each other when the draw is made on Friday — just like they were in the semifinals in 2003, when eventual champion Milan emerged victorious.
Romelu Lukaku had scored the all-important goal at San Siro but he started on the bench Tuesday as Inter coach Simone Inzaghi opted for Edin Dzeko along side Lautaro Martínez up front.
Dzeko had the best of the few Inter chances but his effort was saved by Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa. Porto could have already been in front by then as Inter goalkeeper André Onana got the slightest of touches to push Mateus Uribe’s swerving shot round the post in the third minute and also reacted well to smother a scuffed Stephen Eustáquio effort.
The Inter defence dealt well with the Porto pressure but almost got caught out on the counter midway through the second half but Matteo Darmian who was suffering from a cramp and on a yellow card rushed back to make a perfectly timed, last-ditch tackle.Porto poured forward in the seven minutes of stoppage time and had three incredible chances in the space of a minute. Marcano’s shot was cleared off the line by Inter defender Dumfries, before Onana pushed Taremi’s header onto his post and, moments later, a Marko Grujic header came off the crossbar. Porto defender Pepe was sent off two minutes later following a second yellow card. (Agencies)
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