Man City 6 Burnley 0: Haaland puts Championship leaders to the sword with ANOTHER hat-trick in FA Cup quarter-final
IT started with a hug and a handshake – and ended with a bloodied nose and a dose of harsh reality.
Welcome back Vincent. Now let’s not forget who’s the master and who is the pupil, here, eh?
Erling Haaland celebrates as he follows his five goals vs Leipzig with a hat-trick as Man City chase a glorious Treble of their own
ReutersEtihad goal machine Haaland pounces for his first goal on 32 minutes[/caption]
PAVincent Kompany takes defeat well as he’s embraced by Man City chief Pep Guardiola[/caption]
A standing ovation from the fans who worshipped him for 11 years, and the warmest of embraces from Pep Guardiola ahead of this sixth round showdown.
Then an end to the geniality and a jab for the jugular, as Erling Haaland led the charge for the throat and it all became just another day in the office for Guardiola and his City slickers.
And a painful smack in the chops for Kompany’s Clarets as to what lies in wait once they are back in the rarefied atmosphere of the Premier League.
It actually became so cruel in the end that you half expected a towel to come floating across from the Burnley dugout.
If referee John Brooks had an ounce of compassion he’d have stopped this early. An FA Cup tie that was a genuine contest for over half an hour eventually turned into an exhibition.
By the end City were so on top and Burnley so browbeaten that the home side could have been done for bullying.
If it was an audition for which of Kompany’s Clarets were up to joining him on the journey back in the Promised Land next term, you’d have to say not many would have passed it.
To be honest, for 33 minutes they must have been starting to wonder what all the fuss was about with the Premier League, City and this supposed goal machine called Haaland.
Two devastatingly clinical first half minutes told them exactly what…drop your guard for a split second with him around and it’s curtains.
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So suddenly half time pats on the back all round because finger pointing at who went missing where and when. Haaland does that to a side.
Twice they gave him half a yard in the first half. Both times he punished them in the deadliest fashion. They did it again in the second half and guess what? Same again.
A cruel nudge in the ribs for Kompany and his crew, too, that while you may get away with it in the Championship, when it comes to this level, not a chance.
Take City’s opener, for example. A straight forward ball through the middle from Julian Alvarez, and Haaland was through on Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
A dip of the shoulder, the hint of a shimmy and a poke under the keeper with the outside of his left boot.
Two minutes later the Norwegian was in again, Peacock-Farrell was beaten again, and City were in the FA Cup semi-finals….again.
This time the creation was a little more crafted, Kevin De Bruyne setting Phil Foden free down the left with a slide rule ball inside Connor Roberts.
Foden looked up, took aim and delivered the perfect low cross which Haaland met at just the right time to sidefoot in from close range.
Rcord-breaking hitman Haaland celebrates opening the floodgates against Burnley with Man City’s opener on 32 minutes
Game over, then, before half-time. Incredibly after Burnley looked to have done the donkey work of weathering an early storm. That worked out well, then.
Before they knew it Haaland was completing his sixth hat-trick of the season, taking his tally to EIGHT in two games, and bagging yet another match ball.
Again Foden was the creator, this time with a fizzing low drive which struck the upright and was clinically dispatched by the Norwegian’s one-touch finish.
As if to prove that the quickfire first half one-two was no one-off, City then produced another to make it four.
Riyad Mahrez and De Bruyne were the architects and Alverez the finisher, smashing into an empty net with the Clarets cracked wide open.
Time, then, for Haaland to take a break. Not a bad week’s work, all told, to go with the five Champions League goals he helped himself to against Leipzig on Tuesday.
And to think they all scoffed when it was first suggested he could reach 50 in his first season in England.
Last night’s nap hand has left him on 42 already. The way it’s going, he’ll be disappointed if his eventual haul stops at “just” half a century.
City certainly didn’t stop with his departure, mind, and Cole Palmer – the man who came on for Haaland – got in on the act by volleying into an empty net.
Alvarez finished the romp by tapping in a point blank sixth, before referee Brooks finally called a halt to the punishment.
Although for Kompany, somehow you imagine it will take a while longer for the pain to subside.