Manchester City were dominant as they claimed a 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their quarter-final tie in which Erling Haaland scored his 45th goal of the season
The Norwegian finished off proceedings with a goal in the 76th minute, after Rodri’s opener in the first half was followed by a Bernardo Silva strike not long before the third goal.
Haaland’s late strike means he now holds the record as the Premier League player with the most goals scored in a single season in all competitions.
City’s victory over the six-time European champions – and manager Pep Guardiola’s former club – sent out a strong statement as they look to win the coveted continental prize for the first time.
Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel, who plotted Chelsea’s 2021 final win over City, this time had no answer as City gradually ground out control and then finished with a flourish.
The sides were well matched in a first half played in swirling rain.
City looked to get straight on the front foot and, with Silva lively, they caused some early moments of alarm in the Bayern box but the visitors soon settled.
Taking the sting out City’s play by retaining possession, Bayern patiently tried to work openings and they had the first serious chance when Alphonso Davies dragged a shot well wide.
City’s first opportunity came when goalkeeper Yann Sommer dwelt too long and almost allowed the dangerous Haaland to nip in but the ball deflected wide.
City created a more conventional opening when Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish combined to tee up Haaland but the striker’s effort was tame.
City’s 27th-minute opener came in spectacular fashion moments after Ruben Dias produced a fine block to deny Jamal Musiala at the other end.
The ball was efficiently worked forward and Rodri curled in a beauty with his left foot from outside the area.
City almost grabbed a second when the ball fell to Gundogan after Grealish and Sommer collided but, remarkably from his position on the ground, the keeper denied the City captain with his boot.
For all City’s strength in attack, they needed to defend well to repel Bayern.
Nathan Ake was particularly impressive on the left of the back four but former City man Leroy Sane did manage to get in a shot from distance in first-half injury time.
That curled wide but he went closer after the restart when Ederson needed to save low to his left.
City stepped up the pressure and a series of errors by the Bayern back line presented Haaland with a clear sight of goal but Joshua Kimmich blocked.
Sommer was then called upon to save from Ake and Dias.
City had a scare when Kevin De Bruyne went down and required lengthy treatment after slipping. He tried to continue and looked frustrated when he was substituted soon after but Guardiola clearly decided it was not worth risking one of his key performers any longer.
That choice was soon vindicated as City doubled their lead through Silva after Grealish released Haaland with a clever backheel. The striker burst forward and crossed for Silva to power home a header at the far post.
Haaland then did what he does best to put City in complete control of the tie.
Once again, he was in the right place at the right time to slide in from close range after John Stones headed across goal.
City pushed for a fourth but, although it did not come, they will head to Germany next week confident of securing their place in the semi-finals.
READ MORE: Arsenal handed Rice boost as West Ham shortlist two Prem midfielders to ‘replace’ £80m star
Leave a Reply