Manchester City 3, Young Boys 0 (UEFA Champions League)
Erling Haaland scored twice as Manchester City easily beat ten man Young Boys to record a maximum 12 points from 4 Champions League games.
Haaland’s brace, either side of a classy Phil Foden strike, ensured that City became the first side to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League this season after Swiss side Young Boys of Berne were reduced to ten men.
They became the 12th team to score 250 Champions League goals, achieving the feat in just 119 games – fewer than any other side – and they also became the English record holders for the longest unbeaten streak in European football.
But a muscular injury to John Stones and a back injury to Manuel Akanji in the warm-up to the Young Boys game is a blow ahead of an important Premier League game at Chelsea next weekend.
Kyle Walker’s free kick was saved by Anthony Racioppi while Phil Foden was also denied with the follow-up by the Young Boys goalkeeper.
And Racioppi wasn’t the only Young Boys player living dangerously – Sandro Lauper had already been booked when he fouled Matheus Nunes midway through the first half to give Erling Haaland the chance to put City ahead with from the penalty spot from 23 minutes for his 14th goal of the season.
Haaland could have had a second just goal before half time but Kyle Walker’s cross took a deflection just before it reached him.
The Swiss had a mountain to climb just before half time when Jack Grealish picked out Phil Foden with a great cross field pass and the young England man showed great touch and form to beat his man, come inside and slot the ball inside the back post – his fifth goal of the season.
It was game over after 51 minutes when the irresistible Norwegian scored his second of the night six minutes after the restart with a reverse shot from the edge of the area after creating a bit of space for himself following Rico Lewis’ pass making it 15 goals for the season in just 17 games and 39 goals in 34 Champions League games.
Justice was served when Lauper was booked again for another agricultural tackle on Ake after 53 minutes and finally given his marching orders by the referee.
City fans had been quiet up till then but that plus some handbags after Lewis tangled with Young Boys captain Mohamed Ali Camara woke them up and they made themselves heard for the last half hour.
With the visitors down to ten men the game was over but there was still time for an exciting cameo by Jeremy Doku as they cruised into the knockout stages of the Champions League with ease.Embed from Getty Images
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester City 3, Young Boys 0 (UEFA Champions League)
Ederson: 6. Literally had nothing to do all night. Came off his line to keep warm for the odd ball that went near his box and threw a blue flare to stewards.
John Stones: 7. Imperious in midfield with his passing again. Came off at half time with a muscular injury in what will surely be a big blow for City.
Kyle Walker: 7. Low free kick saved by Anthony Racioppi. Great cross in the first half almost set up a second Erling Haaland goal. Came off for a rest in the second half.
Ruben Dias: 7. Barely needed as the last man in defence.
Josko Gvardiol: 7. Relatively quiet night but had a shot blocked.
Rico Lewis: 7. Early shot blocked on the line by Loris Benito. Definitely made himself available going forward. Laid on the ball for Erling Haaland’s second goal. Not afraid to tangle with giant Young Boys captain Mohamed Ali Camara.
Mateo Kovacic: 7. Trusted to be the nominal defensive midfielder with Rodri rested but still went forward when possible and looked very comfortable on the ball. Brought down on the edge of the box after running clear when put through by Erling Haaland. Sent a late shot wide in the second half.
Phil Foden: 8. Looked sharp throughout. Could not capitalise on the loose ball after Anthony Racioppi saved Kyle Walker’s free kick. Two great touches to go round Ulisses Garcia as he doubled City’s lead with a great goal at the end of the first half. Blazed over a great chance.
Matheus Nunes: 7. Won a spot kick after he was brought down, good in tight spaces in midfield but not really challenged. Head in hands when he failed to convert a cross into the box by Jeremy Doku and blazed over as well.
Jack Grealish: 7. Set up a great chance for Rico Lewis before dropping deeper and sending in a sumptuous raking cross for Phil Foden to score City’s second goal. Had a chance saved in the second half but got a bit sloppy after the game was won before starting to win free kicks in the final quarter.
Erling Haaland: 8. Put away the spot kick, almost had a second when Kyle Walker’s cross took a slight deflection off Aurele Amenda and bounced off the Norwegian who was set for the tap in. Solo goal from outside the area, a turn and rocket of a shot from 20 yards after creating himself a bit of space. Standing ovation when he came off after an hour.
Nathan Ake (on for John Stones, 46): 6. Slotted in easily at the back.
Kalvin Phillips (on for Kyle Walker, 61): 6. Did nothing wrong but must surely be thinking his time is up at City after not starting this game.
Oscar Bobb (on for Erling Haaland, 61): 6. Exciting runs, had a claim to win a penalty.
Jeremy Doku (on for Mateo Kovacic, 80): No time to mark but people are getting out of their seats when he is on the ball.
TEAM NEWS – Manchester City 3, Young Boys 0 (UEFA Champions League)
Kyle Walker was a late change to the team sheet after he replaced Manuel Akanji (who had a back strain in the warm up) after the team sheet was released.
Akanji, Nathan Ake, Rodri, Julian Alvarez, and Jeremy Doku came out of the side that beat Bournemouth at the weekend and in their place came Josko Gvardiol, Rico Lewis, Matheus Nunes, and Phil Foden.
There was no place for Kalvin Phillips who might have expected a chance to start in midfield but with Rodri rested found himself behind even Rico Lewis in the pecking order.
Lewis, Mateo Kovacic, and Matheus Nunes made a solid midfield group who were bolstered by John Stones.
GOALS – Manchester City 3, Young Boys 0 (UEFA Champions League)
Man City 1, Young Boys 0: 23. Erling Haaland slotted the penalty into the bottom left corner, sending Anthony Racioppi the wrong way after Matheus Nunes won the penalty with a deft change of direction in the area.
Man City 2, Young Boys 0: 45+1. Phil Foden drilled the ball home from an acute angle on the right after a great deep cross from Jack Grealish to release him to cut inside.
Man City 3, Young Boys 0: 51. Erling Haaland created himself a bit of space after Rico Lewis laid the ball off for him, then he turned and thrashed the ball past Anthony Racioppi from 20 yards out with a reverse ball.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City 3, Young Boys 0 (UEFA Champions League)
Man City: Ederson, Stones (Ake 46), Walker (Phillips 61), Dias (C), Gvardiol, Lewis, Kovacic (Doku 80), Foden, Nunes, Grealish, Haaland (Bobb 61)
Man City Subs not used: Ortega, Carson, Akanji, Rodri, Alvarez, Bernardo Silva
Goals: Haaland 23 pen, 51; Foden 45+1
Young Boys: Racioppi, Amanda, Camara (C), Benito, Janko (Blum 66), Niasse, Lauper, Ugrinic (Males 88), Garcia (Persson 78), Elia (Ganvoula 78), Itten (Chaiwa 65)
Young Boys Subs not used: Balimoos, Marzino, Colley, Nsame, Rrudhani, Lustenberger, Monteiro
Booked: Benito 15, Lauper 19 (foul on Jack Grealish); Lapuer 53 (foul on Nathan Ake), Amenda 77
Red Card: Lauper 53 (second yellow card)
Referee: Erik Lambrechts