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Haaland on target as Man. City cruise into Champions League quarters

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland (centre) celebrates after scoring against Copenhagen. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

Manchester City cruised into a seventh consecutive Champions League quarter-final as a much-changed side still put FC Copenhagen to the sword 3-1 on Wednesday to progress 6-2 on aggregate.

Goals from Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez killed the tie as a contest inside 10 minutes before Erling Haaland drilled in his 29th goal of the season.

Mohamed Elyounoussi briefly reduced the Danish champions deficit to 2-1 on the night, but Copenhagen were outclassed over two legs as the European champions remain on course for another treble.

City are involved in a tight three-way title race at the top of the Premier League with Liverpool and Arsenal and will face Newcastle in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Pep Guardiola showed he had one eye on Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash at Liverpool as he made seven changes from the side that beat Manchester United at the weekend.

Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva were among those to spend the 90 minutes on the bench to rest up ahead of the trip to Anfield.

But City were still a class apart and aided on their way into the last eight by some comical Copenhagen defending.

Akanji made a sweet connection with Alvarez’s outswinging corner but was given far too much room in the centre of the box to find the top corner.

Worse was to come for the visitors as former Liverpool goalkeeper Kamil Grabara let a simple shot from Alvarez slip through his grasp.

The 2,500 strong visiting support from Copenhagen refused to be downhearted as they kept a flat atmosphere at the Etihad going, and they had something to cheer on the half-hour mark.

Former Southampton and Celtic winger Elyounoussi drove forward with purpose and exchanged a slick one-two with Orri Oskarsson before firing into the far corner.

Haaland had been having a quiet night until he sprang into action in first-half stoppage time.

The Norwegian was picked out by Rodri before chopping onto his favoured left foot and firing in at Grabara’s near post.

That took Haaland’s total to 41 Champions League goals, matching the tally of City’s all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero, but in just 37 appearances for three different clubs.

The goals also set a record for City as they became the first side to score three or more goals in nine consecutive Champions League or European Cup home games.

Rodri’s assist was his final act as the Spaniard was withdrawn at half-time to keep him fresh for the weekend.

City took their foot off the gas in the second period and could have been punished but for some smart goalkeeping from Ederson to deny Magnus Mattsson.

But Guardiola’s men are rounding ominously into form for those trying to dethrone them in England and in Europe.

City have won 18 and drawn two of their last 20 games in all competitions and remain the side to beat when the draw for the Champions League quarters and semi-finals takes place on March 15.

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