Erling Haaland displayed remarkable resilience, bouncing back from an injury to deliver a spectacular performance, scoring twice to propel reigning champions Manchester City into the Champions League last 16 with a convincing 3-0 victory over 10-man Young Boys. The prolific Norwegian showcased his prowess, tallying 15 goals for the season with a precision penalty and a long-range strike, as City effortlessly triumphed over the Swiss champions at the Etihad Stadium, securing their fourth consecutive Group G victory.
In this commanding win, Phil Foden also found the back of the net, further solidifying City’s place in the knockout stages for an impressive 11th consecutive season. Their dominance was evident as Young Boys struggled to generate a single shot and had Sandro Lauper sent off in the second half.
Notably, it was Haaland who stole the limelight, triumphing over the ankle injury that had forced him to exit the field during the match against Bournemouth on Saturday. Although Pep Guardiola could have rested his star striker in preparation for the upcoming clash with Chelsea, he chose to play Haaland, a decision that was richly rewarded with a clinical performance.
Guardiola made six changes to the lineup, with Jeremy Doku, Rodri, and Bernardo Silva among those placed on the bench. However, the return of Foden and Jack Grealish added more firepower to City’s attacking prowess.
City, though not operating at their absolute peak, proved to be far superior to their lackluster opponents, dictating the game as they pleased. The only sparks from Young Boys came from their spirited fans, who, after making a color-coordinated entrance in either black or yellow based on their seating tier, set off fireworks in the second half.
City had an opportunity to take an early lead when Mateo Kovacic brilliantly set up Grealish with a through-ball, but Rico Lewis missed a golden chance, with Loris Benito clearing the ball off the line. Kovacic then combined effectively with Haaland, who was fouled on the edge of the area. Kyle Walker’s free-kick was drilled at Anthony Racioppi, who quickly denied Foden on the rebound.
The inevitable opener arrived in the 23rd minute after Matheus Nunes was fouled just inside the area by Lauper, who, having been booked moments earlier, narrowly escaped a second yellow card on this occasion. Haaland made no mistake, sending Racioppi the wrong way from the spot.
Haaland extended City’s lead early in the second half, capitalizing on a swift break from Lewis and firing a powerful shot into the net after taking a touch just outside the area. Young Boys’ troubles deepened when Lauper received his second booking moments later after a reckless challenge on substitute Nathan Ake.
Haaland was substituted just after the hour mark, and City professionally managed the remainder of the game, with Kovacic and substitute Kalvin Phillips creating further opportunities.