Haaland Bags Brace As Man City Begin Title Defence In Style

Erling Haaland got the Premier League season off to a flying start, scoring twice in Manchester City’s 3-0 triumph over promoted Burnley.

ALSO READ:  Serena Williams Tennis Comeback: Australian Open, Legend Eyeing January Return, Rapid Recovery

Rodri added to Haaland’s first-half double to give City the perfect start to their bid to become the first team to win four straight English Premier League titles.

Haaland led City to a trifecta last season, winning the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup in his debut season.

The 23-year-old took little over three minutes of the new season to add to his score, sweeping home Rodri’s header across goal.

Haaland then smashed a shot off the underside of the bar nine minutes before halftime, smoothing over the cracks of the visitors’ far from flawless opening 45 minutes.

The ease with which Pep Guardiola’s men glided to win after the interval, on the other hand, was an alarming indication for the chasing pack attempting to dethrone City.

Rodri scored the scoring 15 minutes from time by slamming in a loose ball from a free kick.

Manchester City’s Norwegian striker #09 Erling Haaland (L) comforts Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder #17 Kevin De Bruyne as he leaves the pitch following an injury during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Manchester City at Turf Moor in Burnley, north-west England on August 11, 2023. (Photo by Darren Staples / AFP)

City’s night, though, was soured by an injury to captain Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgian had just recently returned from a hamstring rupture sustained in the Champions League final, and walked out in the first half.

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany has a statue outside Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium commemorating his distinguished playing career with the English champions.

During his first season in command, Kompany returned the Clarets to the Premier League at the first attempt and altered Burnley’s playing style.

Despite the score, the home team was far from outclassed, but they paid for a poor start and the absence of a clinical finisher like Haaland.

Burnley’s 2022/23 season finished over a month before City’s European Cup final win in Istanbul.

Guardiola has bemoaned his side’s short pre-season compared to their rivals, but they were quick out of the blocks.

A well-worked corner between De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden eventually picked out Rodri and his header was fired home by Haaland.

Moments later Burnley were denied a penalty when Manuel Akanji’s hold of Zeki Amdouni’s arm was not deemed enough for a spot-kick.

Luca Koleosho then fired over and Amdouni shot too close to Ederson as Burnley posed a bigger threat for large spells of the first-half.

However, they were hit with a sucker punch when Julian Alvarez laid off Kyle Walker’s cross into the path of Haaland to produce an unstoppable effort high past Burnley debutant goalkeeper James Trafford.

With the wind taken from Burnley’s sails, City took a stranglehold of the game after the break without ever having to hit top gear.

Rodri was the unlikely hero with the only goal in Istanbul two months ago and he started the new season as he finished the last by smashing home from close range after a goalmouth scramble.

Burnley’s miserable night was rounded off in stoppage time when Anass Zaroury was shown a straight red card for a wild challenge on Kyle Walker.

U.S.: Alabama A&M STEM Students Receive $100k Scholarship From Tech Company

Harry Kane Arrives In Germany Ahead Of ‘Imminent’ Bayern Munich Move