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Haaland brace lifts Man City to 3-1 win over Young Boys in Champions League group

Erling Haaland ended his goal drought with a brace while Manuel Akanji scored on his return to his homeland as reigning champions Manchester City all but secured their spot in the Champions League knockout stage with a 3-1 win over Swiss side Young Boys on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side maintained their 100 per cent winning record in Group G with three victories, despite their pre-game concerns about playing on the slick artificial turf at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern.

“It was an exceptional game,” Guardiola told TNT Sports. “I’m just really, really pleased for the way we played; we need one more game to qualify mathematically.”

City can clinch their spot in the knockout stage when they play Young Boys again, this time at home, on Nov. 7.

Haaland scored for the first time in six Champions League games with a penalty in the 67th minute after Mohamed Camara’s tackle on Rodri in the box.

City’s goal-scoring machine added a fabulous second goal when he moved the ball from his left foot to his right before firing it into the top corner in the 86th.

Haaland, who rewrote several scoring records last season, added another one on Wednesday, breaking Kylian Mbappe’s mark as the youngest player to score 37 Champions League goals. The Norwegian striker, who is 23 years and 96 days, did it in 33 games.

City had a string of first-half near misses before Akanji finally broke the deadlock three minutes after the break when Ruben Dias’s header was pushed off the crossbar by keeper Anthony Racioppi and the Swiss defender swung his right leg high to boot it in.

But Young Boys caught City keeper Ederson in no man’s land to level four minutes later, sending in Meschack Elia with a superb pass which he scooped high over Ederson into the net.

A City goal felt like an inevitability after their string of unbelievable first-half near misses, including Jack Grealish’s curling shot that Racioppi dropped, allowing Matheus Nunes to bundle the ball towards the goal before Loris Benito slid to save it on the line.

“That is how it goes, if you don’t take them chances it can be difficult,” defender Rico Lewis told TNT Sports. “In the end the forwards took their chances and we won the game.”

Young Boys are third in the group on one point after three matches.

(Published 26 October 2023, 01:22 IST)

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