Haaland scores twice as Manchester City claim victory in Burnley opener
Erling Haaland made a strong impact at the start of the Premier League season by scoring twice in Manchester City’s 3-0 victory over Burnley. Rodri added another goal after Haaland’s double to give City a perfect beginning to their pursuit of a fourth consecutive English top-flight title.
Last season, Haaland led City to success in the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup by scoring 52 goals in his debut year at the club. In just over three minutes of the new campaign, Haaland opened his account by skillfully finishing Rodri’s header across the goal.
Haaland then struck a powerful shot off the underside of the bar before halftime, showcasing his finishing ability despite a less than perfect first 45 minutes from City. However, in the second half, Guardiola’s team comfortably secured the victory, leaving their rivals with the daunting task of dethroning them. Rodri completed the scoring by smashing home a loose ball from a free-kick.
Unfortunately, City’s night was marred by an injury to captain Kevin De Bruyne, who had recently recovered from a hamstring tear suffered in the Champions League final but had to be substituted in the first half.
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany, an icon at City with a statue dedicated to him outside the Etihad Stadium, returned the Clarets to the Premier League immediately after their relegation and transformed their playing style during his first season in charge.
Despite the scoreline, Burnley was not completely outplayed but paid the price for a slow start and the absence of a clinical finisher like Haaland. Burnley’s season had ended over a month earlier than City’s European Cup triumph in Istanbul.
Guardiola has expressed concern about his team’s short preseason compared to their rivals, but they showed early intent in the match. A well-executed corner involving De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden eventually found Rodri, whose header was finished emphatically by Haaland.
Burnley was denied a penalty moments later when Manuel Akanji’s hold on Zeki Amdouni was not deemed enough for a spot-kick. Luca Koleosho and Amdouni both had opportunities but failed to trouble City’s goalkeeper, Ederson, as Burnley posed a significant threat in the first half.
However, Burnley suffered a blow when Julian Alvarez set up Haaland with a cross from Kyle Walker, resulting in an unstoppable shot that left Burnley’s debutant goalkeeper, James Trafford, helpless.
With Burnley losing momentum, City took control of the game in the second half without needing to shift into top gear. Rodri, the unlikely hero from their previous triumph in Istanbul, started the new season by smashing home from close range after a scramble in the goalmouth.
Burnley’s night got worse in stoppage time when Anass Zaroury received a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Kyle Walker.
Overall, Haaland’s performance had a significant impact on City’s convincing victory, while Burnley showed flashes of promise but lacked the clinical edge.