Erling Haaland was on the scoresheet yet again with a brace, as Manchester City swept aside FC Copenhagen at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Citizens took an early lead through the Norwegian's 18th goal of the season and soon found themselves heading into the tunnel at half-time with a 3-0 lead - thanks to a second goal from Haaland and an own goal from Copenhagen’s Davit Khocholava.
The dominant first-half showing was built upon after the break with Riyad Mahrez converting from the penalty spot before Julian Alvarez added a late fifth from close range.
City’s rampant victory means that they have a perfect record in Group G halfway through their fixtures, with Pep Guardiola’s side already claiming wins against Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund.
The Champions League group stage encounter began with City constantly attacking the visitors’ goal, often appearing to be in a 4-1-5 formation, reflecting their offensive mindset towards the match.
It did not take long for the Premier League champions to storm into the lead and who else to score the opener but the man in red hot form, Erling Haaland.
A tight cross from Joao Cancelo was pounced on by the Norwegian, who powered in his 27th goal in the Champions League with his first touch of the game.
This impressive total matches Brazilian legend Rivaldo’s European record as well as former Liverpool and Barcelona striker Luis Suarez.
Mere minutes later, Bernardo Silva saw his shot tipped onto the post by the foot of Copenhagen’s goalkeeper Kamil Grabara, as City grew further into the game making their dominance show in chances.
The Polish keeper then produced saves to deny Haaland twice as well as a powerful long range strike from Jack Grealish, with the home side continuing to pile pressure on the Danish Superliga Champions’ goal.
City finally doubled their lead as the impressive Grabara fumbled a powerful shot from City fullback Sergio Gomez, leaving Haaland to tap home into an empty net and take his season total to 19 goals in all competitions.
This latest goal took Haaland level with Ryan Giggs and Jean-Pierre Papin for Champions League goals, with all three players on 28 goals each in the esteemed European competition - a total achieved by the City striker in just 22 games.
Gomez decided to shoot again not long after this and the Spaniard’s attempt again led to a goal but this time via a Copenhagen player, as Davit Khocholava converted into his own net while under pressure from the looming Haaland.
City started the second-half without the Norwegian striker, as Guardiola gave his star goal scorer a well earned rest with academy product Cole Palmer coming on in his place, allowing Julian Alvarez to move into the central position.
It did not take City long to add to their lead as Riyad Mahrez converted from the penalty spot for his first goal of the season, following a foul on Aymeric Laporte in the Copenhagen box.
This well-taken goal from Mahrez further marked an already special night for the player, as the Algerian winger was making his 200th appearance for the Premier League champions.
City’s dominant lead was not lost on Guardiola, who decided with this to make a second substitution this time in defence, taking off regular first teamer Joao Cancelo and replacing the Portuguese full-back with another academy product Rico Lewis.
This was followed up with a third substitution, with Silva going off to allow a third academy product, Joshua Wilson-Esbrand, to come on.
Both of the young defenders made their Champions League debuts on the night, showing a clear path from the City academy to the first team which others such as Foden and Palmer have walked before them.
Copenhagen then went close from a Isak Bergmann Johannesson corner which was narrowly headed wide by Valdemar Lund.
This small surge from the visitors was crushed just moments later, as Alvarez fired in his first Champions League goal of his career from close range after a smart Mahrez cross, taking City’s total to five for the night.
Elsewhere, Ruben Dias marked his 100th appearance for City with a clean sheet, which is his 52nd shutout since making his debut for the Manchester side in 2020.
The result means City remain top of Group G with just three fixtures to go, knowing qualification to the knockout rounds is all but guaranteed.
Guardiola’s side are back in action at the weekend as they take on Southampton in the Premier League at the Etihad on Saturday.
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