Manchester City reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 7-0 victory over RB Leipzig.
Erling Haaland scored five goals to achieve the result, which in no way surpassed City. It would have been difficult for the hosts to be up front had they tried and would undoubtedly have scored more goals had Pep Guardiola not pulled out his big names early.
With City it was all spot on, with Pep Guardiola’s side having more than 60% of the ball after 15 minutes, and some pinball in the penalty area left the dominant hosts wondering how they hadn’t opened the scoring yet.
Fortunately for City, the VAR called the referee to punish a handball from Benjamin Henriques in the chaos, and Haaland made no mistake from 12 yards out.
Before the fans could catch their breath, Kevin De Bruyne sent a shot from distance off the crossbar but Haaland was there to sweep the ball back and head home 77 seconds after his first goal.
City’s defense got a bit disorganized after that, and Ederson was lucky he didn’t avoid punishment due to Konrad Leimer’s clumsy challenge which somehow ended up in the goalkeeper’s favour.
However, City’s fears were short-lived as Haaland completed his hat-trick from a corner kick with the final kick of the first half, swooping into action after Ruben Dias’ header slid across the line.
The home side’s rhythm continued after the break and Ilkay Gundogan added the fourth goal with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area just four minutes into the second half.
Another four minutes passed before City celebrated again. It was Haaland again, thundering off a corner kick to match the team’s all-time scoring record with 38, and broke it almost immediately afterward when he tapped in another rebound to add a fifth of the evening.
Guardiola showed mercy on the hour mark by pulling Haaland down, after which the pace of the match dwindled. City were content with controlling the ball and Leipzig were already dreaming of returning home.
There was still time for a seventh, and it was group selection. De Bruyne scored a superb goal from distance into the dying embers, capping off an absolutely fantastic performance from the Belgian.
GK: Ederson – 6/10 – A crazy moment for his collision with Leimer, but he made up for it with some excellent passes.
Right-back: John Stones – 8/10 – Excellent in the inverted full-back role. Comprised on the ball and physically dominant, he gave City an extra push.
Center back: Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – I can’t say he made a lot of mistakes, but Akanji certainly looked the weakest of the City centre-backs.
Center back: Ruben Dias – 7/10 – Dominant back again. Didn’t look under any pressure.
Left-back: Nathan Ake – 7/10 – Another excellent performance from Ake, who is still not really a left back.
DM: Rodri – 6/10 – It does not consist of the same typical. A few tense passes at the back as Stones seemed to take the spotlight.
Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne – 10/10 – Those critics of his later form will remain silent after this. The Belgian is back to his glamorous best.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 8/10 – Sloppy in the first half but clearly found his shooting shoes at the break.
Right winger: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – He didn’t play like many of his team mates but he caused a lot of problems.
Forward: Erling Haaland – 10/10 – It was amazing even before the goals started coming in. It really felt like part of a full team performance here. Not playable at all.
Left-back: Jack Grealish – 8/10 – Constant threat lower left. Great playing alongside Ake.
Phil Foden (55 minutes to Grealish) – 7/10
Riyad Mahrez (55 minutes for Gundogan) – 8/10
Julian Alvarez (63 minutes for Haaland) – 6/10
Sergio Gomez (63 minutes to the Stone) – 6/10
Calvin Phillips (63 min to Rodri) – 6/10
Pep Guardiola – 10/10 – Keeping his faith with De Bruyne was the right call from Guardiola, whose use of stones in midfield was a stroke of genius. I couldn’t dream of a more perfect evening.
GK: Janis Blaswich – 4/10 – Impressed when he wasn’t catching the ball behind his net. He couldn’t do anything about the goals and even went in the right direction for the penalty.
Right back: Benjamin Henriques – 1/10 – Unfortunately with the handball call-up it summed up a difficult evening for the right-back.
Central defender: Willy Urban – 1/10 – It was completely destroyed by Haaland’s strength and speed. I couldn’t do anything about the City striker.
Center back: Jusko Guardiol – 1/10 – On the day he was billed as the ‘Haaland center back’, Gvardiol looked nowhere near Norwegian level.
Left back: David Raum – 1/10 – He apparently decided not to track De Bruyne. Watched as the midfielder ran the show.
DM: Kevin Campbell – 1/10 – Stones and Rodri knocked it out. Chasing shadows all games.
DM: Amadou Haidara – 4/10 – Actually it wasn’t bad at all. He was caught himself but left on an island sometimes.
Right midfielder: Konrad Leimer – 2/10 – He deserved the free kick when he was attacked by Ederson but he was off the field.
AM: Emil Forsberg – 3/10 – Had the weird, sweet movement moment but couldn’t come close to his best.
Left midfielder: Dominik Szoboszlai – 4/10 – He carried Leipzig’s attack but couldn’t do everything himself.
Forward: Timo Werner – 2/10 – He hardly had any chances to participate.
Yusef Poulsen (62 minutes for Werner) – 5/10
Andre Silva (62 min for Forsberg) – 5/10
Muhammad Semakan (62 minutes for Haidra) – 5/10
Dani Olmo (72 min for Szuboszli) – 5/10
Lukas Klostermann (80 minutes for Heinrich) – N/A
Marco Rose – 1/10 – Campbell deep in midfield was a disastrous cry from Rose, who didn’t even make a substitution until his team trailed by six goals. Did he think they could turn it around 5-0?