Erling Haaland scored twice in Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Leeds United
Erling Haaland’s list of goalscorers at Manchester City is getting longer. Back in his hometown of Leeds, the Premier League’s top scorer added two more goals as City picked up a precious three points to close their current five-point gap with leaders Arsenal.
Superlatives are not enough to describe Haaland’s string of goals at Elland Road, against the side his father Alfe Inge played for. The Norwegian striker picked up where he left off before the World Cup break, scoring his City’s 25th and 26th career goals.
Haaland’s goal came just after the break: curling a finish into an empty net after City capitalized on a Leeds United error and a second under Ilan Meslier to keep the home side’s advantage. Both of Haaland’s goals were assisted by Jack Grealish. At that time the visitors were ahead thanks to Rodri’s opener in the final minutes of the first half.
It was a very enjoyable night for Pep Guardiola’s side, although Pascal Struyck’s consolation goal led to late drama. The five-week break has failed to even reverse the fortunes of Leeds’ porous defense, which has conceded three or more goals in each of their last three league outings. They remain two points above the relegation zone.
Jesse Marsh’s Leeds rarely offer a dull scoreless game, as shown in their last four league games before the World Cup break, in which they had scored a total of 22 goals, and Guardiola admitted his City side could not have asked for a more difficult comeback. in domestic. game . Elland Road is seeing action for the first time since 4 November and is set to take on the reigning champions and cross-district rivals.
The Yorkshire-Lancashire affair came to life within 30 seconds when Haaland, back in his hometown, beat Liam Cooper to head the ball past the Leeds defense but Ilan Meslier pounced on his goal line. The Leeds goalkeeper had recovered from glandular fever early in the match and again thwarted Haaland just after the half hour in a one-on-one. Marsh, Haaland’s former manager at RB Salzburg, may be aware of the threat.
The hosts were without Tyler Adams, but not with their usual high energy and pressure. City had little time to rest the ball but they used it effectively. 18-year-old Rico Lewis, making his Premier League debut after Guardiola admitted it was impossible to keep him out after his impressive display in last week’s League Cup win against Liverpool, edged past Kevin De Bruyne, who failed to find the net.
Despite Leeds’ hard work, City managed to find a place. Ilkay Gundogan couldn’t get past De Bruyne’s cross from the spot, then the German whistled and fired wide of Meslier’s post. The play is crisp and precise; although Grealish showed some confused thinking when he missed the far post and then attempted a throw-in from six yards after being set up by Luiz.
It was a challenging first half for Guardiola’s men but they were top scorers for some reason with 43 goals and managed to break the deadlock in first-half injury time. It was a major switch that started on the outskirts of the city area and continued forward from De Bruyne. Feedback to Rodri was sent to Riyad Mahrez. Meslier parried his shot but Rodry was there to intercept the rebound.
Trouble first half but a bit of loot didn’t dampen Christmas cheer in the home gallery, who sang jokingly about Calvin Phillips – a former member of their congregation – eating whatever he wanted after Guardiola’s last words. From the bench, the midfielder saw City double their lead early in the second half.
If the discovery was due to persistence, then opportunism. Cooper’s square cross for Robin Koch was slightly overcooked and read by Grealish, who bagged the Leeds centre-back and charged unhindered into the box before selflessly setting Haaland into an empty net.
Haaland’s second goal was created well in the 64th minute. De Bruyne turned inside and fed Haaland, a quick one-two with Grealish returning the ball to the Norwegian’s feet and his first finish rolling under Meslier.
The Leeds supporters stayed with their team and sang with enthusiasm even though their team was being thrashed by Guardiola’s machine. And with 17 minutes remaining, consolation came when Sam Greenwood headed a corner into the City area and Struyk rose expertly to hammer a header into the far corner.
Then came the strongest spell from Leeds. Degnand Gnonto’s candor caused City problems, substitute Joe Gelhard failed to clear Greenwood’s cross for Ederson and at the other end Meslier beat Haaland in their last head-to-head game. The Leeds keeper may have won that fight but he didn’t win the war.
Man of the match: Erling Haaland
Haaland picked up where he left off, scoring twice in City’s 3-1 win over Leeds. The Norwegian striker returned to his hometown and put the home side under the knife.