Erling Haaland maintained his incredible start to life at Manchester City as the Norway striker’s double inspired a 4-0 rout of Sevilla in Tuesday’s Champions League opener.
Haaland’s latest display of his sublime predatory instincts ensured City started their Group G campaign in emphatic fashion at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
The 22-year-old put City ahead in the first half and he netted again after the interval as Phil Foden and Ruben Dias also scored.
Guardiola this week insisted City cannot pin all their Champions League hopes on Haaland.
But he has made an incredible start to his City career following his £51 million ($58 million) move from Borussia Dortmund, scoring 12 goals in just seven games in all competitions.
Haaland has scored 25 times in 20 Champions League games, a tally that now includes goals on his debuts in the competition for City, Dortmund and Red Bull Salzburg.
City’s stroll in southern Spain was just what the Premier League champions needed after the frustration of Saturday’s draw at Aston Villa.
Pitted in a group also featuring Dortmund and FC Copenhagen, City will expect to qualify comfortably if Haaland continues this kind of form.
But only winning the Champions League for the first time will make City’s season a complete success after so many years of painful failure in the competition.
There was a touch of irony about City returning to Spain to start this year’s Champions League run after last season’s campaign ended in Guardiola’s homeland.
City suffered an agonising semi-final defeat against Real Madrid, who scored twice in stoppage time to spark an extra-time victory that left Guardiola still waiting for his first European triumph since 2011 with Barcelona.
Strong winds on their flight contributed to a delayed arrival on Monday night, but City were never in danger of being blown off course in Sevilla.
With John Stones and Kyle Walker injured, Manuel Akanji made a composed debut in City’s defence after his deadline-day move from Dortmund, while Sergio Gomez was also solid at left-back in his first start.
Statement of intent
Sending an early statement of intent, Haaland glanced a header just wide from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross.
City’s pressure was rewarded in the 20th minute as Haaland maintained his blistering form.
Foden slipped a pass to De Bruyne on the right flank and the Belgian’s cross was perfectly placed for Haaland, who showed tremendous movement and anticipation to volley home from close range.
Haaland is the fourth player to score on his Champions League debut for at least three different clubs after Fernando Morientes, Javier Saviola and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
City had squandered the lead after Haaland put them ahead at Villa and they looked determined to avoid a repeat.
De Bruyne went close with a free-kick that whistled wide, while Haaland motored into the area for a shot well saved by Yassine Bounou.
Penned back in their own half for long periods, Sevilla suddenly mounted a rare attack that almost brought an equaliser.
Thomas Delaney laid off to Papu Gomez and the forward should have done better than fire high into the stands.
Foden made Gomez pay for that miss as the City forward struck in the 58th minute.
Cancelo picked out Foden in the Sevilla area and he twisted and turned before planting a clever shot past the wrong-footed Bounou from 12 yards.
Haaland delivered the knockout blow in the 67th minute with a simple close-range finish after Bounou pushed Foden’s shot into his path.
With just seconds left in stoppage time, Dias capped the demolition as the defender converted Cancelo’s cross.
World Cup News
/ 1 week ago
A set of six jerseys that Lionel Messi wore during Argentina’s victorious 2022 World...
Saudi Arabia is prepared to host the 2034 World Cup in summer or winter,...
Saudi Arabia is in line to host the 2034 World Cup after FIFA announced...
Rights groups called for “binding commitments” from World Cup host nations after Australia opted...