Erling Haaland, the star striker for Manchester City, has finally broken his goal drought in European competition, leaving their rivals in terror. Prior to City’s 3-1 victory at Young Boys in Bern, Haaland had failed to score in five consecutive Champions League matches, dating back to the previous season. However, this dry spell ended as City managed to level the score against Young Boys, with Meschack Elia’s stunning chip. With Haaland back on the scoring sheet, Manchester City has become a formidable force in the Champions League.
This scoring hiatus from Haaland during City’s successful European campaign had raised eyebrows. After an explosive first season at City, where he scored an impressive 52 goals in 53 games, Haaland struggled to find the net in City’s opening Group G matches against Crvena Zvezda and RB Leipzig. Notably, this period coincided with the absence of key midfield providers Kevin de Bruyne, who was sidelined due to injury, and Ilkay Gundogan, who had transferred to Barcelona.
In the initial stages of the match against Young Boys in Bern, Haaland appeared frustrated, missing a one-on-one opportunity in the 23rd minute and sending the ball wide. The inclement weather and the unfamiliar artificial surface further compounded his challenges. Haaland needed a confidence boost, which arrived when Rodri was fouled in the box on the 67th minute. Haaland confidently converted the penalty, resembling the striker he had been known for.
Manchester City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, acknowledges the pressure on Haaland’s shoulders. Guardiola believes that everyone outside the club is eagerly awaiting Haaland to stop scoring, but he has no doubts about the Norwegian’s abilities. “It is important to have the chances; people want him to fail,” Guardiola expressed after the match. “I am sorry, but this guy will score goals all his life. With the chances, he is an incredible threat. The players need the ability to find the pass like Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan. But he is going to score until the last day he plays football.”
The penalty that Haaland scored marked his first Champions League goal in 543 minutes of action, dating back to the previous season’s quarter-final match against Bayern Munich. Despite this drought, Haaland’s overall statistics, particularly his scoring rate, remain impressive. He has now scored an astonishing 37 goals in 33 Champions League games.
At just 23 years and 96 days, Haaland has become the youngest player to reach this milestone, surpassing Kylian Mbappe’s record by nearly 200 days. These remarkable achievements underscore the incredibly high standards that Haaland has set for himself. Even when he experiences a drop in form, it is still notable due to the lofty expectations.
Teammate Rico Lewis acknowledged the scrutiny on Haaland, pointing out that it stems from the exceptional season he had the previous year. Nonetheless, Haaland’s resurgence is a testament to his ability and past achievements. Thanks to Haaland’s contributions, Manchester City has now won five consecutive games in the Champions League, a feat they hadn’t achieved since May 2021 when they secured seven consecutive victories.
Guardiola’s side also continues to impress with their unbeaten streak in the Champions League, having gone 16 matches without a loss, winning 10 and drawing six. This remarkable run places them among the longest unbeaten runs in the competition among English teams, with only Manchester United between 2007 and 2009 having a longer undefeated streak. With Haaland back in top form, there is every reason to believe that Manchester City will continue to set records and maintain their impressive run in the Champions League.
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