Erling Haaland scored five goals to power Manchester City into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 7-0 win over RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium.
The tie had been precariously balanced after a 1-1 draw in Germany but Haaland took the game away from City’s opponents with a first-half hat-trick and added two more before the hour on an astonishing night. His tally for the season now stands at 39.
Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne grabbed the other goals but the evening belonged to the 22-year-old Norwegian. He is the first man in nine years to score five in a Champions League game and it might have been more had Pep Guardiola not withdrawn him.
The City boss knows there are bigger tests ahead and though Arsenal retain a five-point lead in the Premier League title race, with Guardiola’s team now in two quarter-finals – and Haaland in this mood – a spectacular finale to the season could yet lie ahead.
Man City: Ederson (6), Stones (9), Dias (7), Akanji (7), Ake (8), Rodri (7), Gundogan (8), De Bruyne (9), Silva (9), Haaland (10), Grealish (7).
Subs: Foden (7), Mahrez (7), Phillips (6), Alvarez (6), Gomez (6).
RB Leipzig: Blaswich (6), Henrichs (4), Orban (5), Gvardiol (5), Raum (5), Laimer (6), Kampl (5), Haidara (5), Szoboszlai (5), Werner (4), Forsberg (5).
Subs:Silva (6), Poulsen (6), Simakan (6), Olmo (6), Klostermann (6).
Player of the match: Erling Haaland.
Haaland’s record-breaking night in stats
Erling Haaland has broken Man City’s 94 year-old record for most goals scored in a season. His 39 goals beats the previous record of Tommy Johnson that has stood since 1929.
Haaland is the third player to score five goals in a single Champions League game after Luiz Adriano in October 2014 and Lionel Messi in March 2012.
He has scored 33 goals in 25 games in the Champions League, reaching the 30-goal milestone in fewer matches than any other player in the competition’s history.
Haaland also became the youngest player to reach 30 goals in Champions League history.
Haaland has scored five hat-tricks for Man City in all competitions this season, three more than any other player in Europe’s big five leagues.
He is the first Premier League player to score five hat-tricks in a season since Harry Kane in 2016-17.
Haaland has scored 10 goals in the UEFA Champions League this season, the most by a Man City player in a single season in the competition.
How Haaland blew Leipzig away
His first of the night came from the penalty spot, a harsh handball decision going against Benjamin Henrichs following a VAR check. The second, just two minutes later, was magnificent, a towering header after De Bruyne’s shot had struck the crossbar.
The third ricocheted in off him from barely a yard out after Ruben Dias’ header had rolled along the line, but Haaland makes a habit of being in the right place. His fifth hat-trick of the season in this stadium. The second of them to come before the half-time whistle.
Pep Guardiola made only one change from the team that won 1-0 at Crystal Palace on Saturday with Kevin De Bruyne returning in place of Phil Foden, who dropped to the bench.
RB Leipzig also made one change the weekend with Kevin Kampl coming into the midfield in place of striker Andre Silva. That saw Timo Werner lead the line on his own.
Ederson was fortunate to escape punishment when he clattered into Konrad Laimer after racing out of his area, while Timo Werner missed his kick when well placed to pull one back. But that occasional sloppiness at the back never really looked like being costly.
Not when they were so potent at the other end of the pitch.
Not when Haaland was around.
The fourth was a fine team goal that involved the striker and finished with Jack Grealish setting up Gundogan for a left-footed effort into the far corner. With Leipzig beaten, all that talk of Haaland struggling to see the ball felt farcical – it appeared drawn to him.
Janis Blaswich did well to save his header but could not keep out the rebound. Then he had his fifth when the goalkeeper denied Manuel Akanji but not the man of the moment. There was almost disbelief at this point. Only his substitution spared the Bundesliga side.
De Bruyne had the final say. In a week in which his manager had told him to focus on the simple things, he duly completed the rout by curling the ball into the top corner of the net with the final kick of the match. More brilliance from the Belgian.
With the famous Poznan celebration having an airing, it made for a joyous occasion. Remarkable given what was on the line. Guardiola had said beforehand he knows his time at City will be judged by some on whether he wins the Champions League.
Haaland’s presence means that he finally might.
Haaland: I don’t think, I just shoot!
“It is a big night,” Haaland told BT Sport. “I am really proud to play in the Champions League, I love this competition. Five goals to win 7-0 at home – I am so happy.
“I do not remember the goals, I just shoot, I do not think!
“A lot of goals today I did not think, I just did it. On the penalty, I just wanted to get it in the back of the net, same with the second goal, same with the third goal and every goal.
“A lot of it is being quick in the mind and try to put it where the keeper isn’t. A little bit of it is quality but a lot of it is in the head.”
Asked about Guardiola’s decision to substitute him with half an hour remaining, he added: “I told him, I would love to score a double hat-trick but what can we do?!”
When is the draw?
The draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals take place at 11am UK time on Friday, March 17 in Nyon, Switzerland at UEFA’s headquarters.
The eight last-16 winners are involved in an open quarter-final and semi-final draw.
There are no seedings and no country protection, so clubs can face opposition from the same country. They can also draw teams they previously played in the group stage.
A final draw will also take place to determine the ‘home’ side for administrative reasons for the showpiece event in Istanbul, Turkey on June 10.
You can follow the draw with Sky Sports’ live blog, so you can keep across everything right here.
Manchester City host Burnley in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Saturday. They resume Premier League action after the international break when they face Liverpool on April 1 at the Etihad Stadium.
RB Leipzig travel to relegation-threatened Bochum back in the Bundesliga on Saturday.