Erling Haaland smashed a club goal scoring record that had stood for 94 years as Manchester City humiliated RB Leipzig 7-0 to advance to the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday (AEDT).
The Norwegian giant scored five goals at Etihad Stadium to take his season tally to 39 and eclipse Tommy Johnson’s record of 38 that had stood since 1928–29.
Haaland probably would have had more if manager Pep Guardiola had not shown mercy and substituted the 22-year-old to a standing ovation in the 63rd minute.
Watch Erling Haaland, Karim Benzema and Mohamed Salah in the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League, streaming ad free, live and exclusive on Stan Sport
Haaland smashes City goal scoring record
“He’s just an absolute machine, isn’t he,” commentator Andy Townsend said on Stan Sport’s coverage.
“It’s astonishing what we’re witnessing. Can you have a statue at the stadium after just one season?”
The round of 16 tie had been poised at 1-1 after the first leg in Germany but Haaland’s controversial 22nd minute penalty turned the match on its head.
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Referee Slavko Vincic and VAR Alejandro Hernandez bizarrely decided to intervene and ping Leipzig’s Benjamin Henrichs for handball in a decision that was widely panned.
“The officials between them have decided it should be a penalty to Manchester City,” Guy Mowbray said in commentary.
“They didn’t even ask for one… not one appeal from the players.”
Ireland great Townsend was stunned.
“I don’t see that because the guy’s jumping up in the air, your arms are going to move when you leave the floor,” he said.
“Rodri heads that – that is not a penalty in my book… astonishing. He’s (Henrichs) perplexed as to what on earth has gone on there. Very harsh in my opinion.”
Leipzig were understandably incensed and Haaland scored his second just two minutes later before the floodgates completely opened.
“It’s just a ridiculous decision in every respect... it kills Leipzig because they are a counter-attacking team,” Stan Sport’s Craig Foster said.
“How have we got to the stage that that is even considered a penalty?” wondered host Max Rushden.
“Ninety-nine-point-nine per cent of the football world would say that’s not a penalty,” Mark Bosnich added.
Haaland’s second goal made him the fastest player to reach 30 in the Champions League.
At 22 years, 236 days old, he is also the youngest player to reach that landmark, surpassing Kylian Mbappe, who was 22 years, 352 days when he scored his 30th.
Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano are the only other players to have scored five goals in a Champions League match.
In the day’s other match, Inter Milan and FC Porto played out a goal-less draw at Estadio do Dragao.
Inter advanced to the quarter-finals after winning the first leg 1-0 in Italy.
All the drama was saved for the fifth minute of stoppage time as a goal-line clearance, the post and the crossbar prevented Porto from snatching the goal that would have taken the match to extra time.
There were few other concrete chances as Inter did enough to ensure it advanced to the final eight for the first time since going out at that stage as defending champions in 2011.
Romelu Lukaku had scored the all-important goal at the San Siro but he started on the bench in the second leg as Inter manager Simone Inzaghi opted for Edin Dzeko alongside Lautaro Martinez up front. – with AP
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