Erling Haaland at the double as Manchester City kick off new campaign in style

Rodri was also on target as City began the Premier League season with a 3-0 win at Burnley.

Simon Peach
Friday 11 August 2023 22:20 BST
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland celebrates the win over Burnley (Mike Egerton/PA).
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland celebrates the win over Burnley (Mike Egerton/PA).

Erling Haaland’s brilliant brace helped Manchester City kick off their quest for an unprecedented fourth straight top-flight title with victory at promoted Burnley.

Just two months on from winning the Champions League to become the second treble winners in English football history, Pep Guardiola’s men returned to competitive action with a bang at Turf Moor.

Star man Haaland’s excellent first-half double and a close-range Rodri effort did the damage as City ran out 3-0 winners in the Premier League curtain raiser at Vincent Kompany’s Burnley.

The 23-year-old frontman swept the visitors ahead 184 seconds into the new campaign and, with his side having lost skipper Kevin De Bruyne to injury, struck a stunning second off the underside of the bar.

That display was not enough to avoid being chided by Guardiola as the teams made their way off at half-time, with the City boss pushing away a TV camera as he berated the striker.

Rodri completed the scoring and Burnley substitute Anass Zaroury received a contentious late red card, with Community Shield runners-up City now turning their attention to Wednesday’s Super Cup clash against Sevilla.

Both sets of players took the knee before kick-off and initial boos were drowned out by cheers at Turf Moor, where the hosts were behind after just three minutes and four seconds.

De Bruyne took a short corner and, following a couple of passes, lifted a cross to the far post, where Rodri headed back across goal for Haaland to direct home impressively.

It was a gut punch that De Bruyne tried to add to from distance, but the champions of the Championship stuck to Kompany’s principles.

Burnley penalty appeals fell on deaf ears when Zeki Amdouni went down under pressure from Manuel Akanji before Luca Koleosho missed the target after fine, composed build-up.

Amdouni wriggled free to get a shot on Ederson’s goal as Burnley continued to threaten City, whose youngster Rico Lewis was hit by an object thrown from the stands.

The Lancashire club later confirmed the individual responsible had been identified and removed from the ground by police and now faces a banning order.

Lewis was all right to continue, but De Bruyne soon had to leave the field.

The skipper recently returned from a hamstring injury and, seemingly out of nothing, signalled to the bench that he had felt something, leading to Mateo Kovacic’s introduction.

Burnley quickly attempted to capitalise. Amdouni was stopped by Rodri before the midfielder saw a pass cut out and Lyle Foster bent narrowly wide.

But the hosts’ hopes of a comeback were short-lived as Haaland scored an incredible second in the 36th minute.

Kyle Walker raced down the right and cut back to Julian Alvarez, who laid off for the Norwegian sharpshooter to sweep a first-time strike in off the underside of the bar.

Haaland may have been on course for a hat-trick, but something had upset Guardiola, who pulled him back and scolded him before pushing the away a camera.

The striker remained on as the visitors began the second half on top, with James Trafford – signed from City in the summer – tipping over a Rodri effort from distance and then saving a header from the Champions League final matchwinner.

Alvarez fired off target after a show of strength by Haaland before City struck a third in the 75th minute as the match appeared to be petering out.

Burnley failed to effectively clear a crossed free-kick and Rodri lashed home from five yards after Nathan Ake was blocked out.

Alvarez saw a shot blocked before Josko Gvardiol came on for his City debut, with Haaland booed by the Burnley faithful when withdrawn as part of a triple City change.

Guardiola made a point of getting up to give Haaland a warm greeting after their earlier exchange.

Stewards reacted quickly as a fan attempted to get on the pitch towards the end of a night that had seen Burnley impress against mightily tough opposition.

Things got worse for the promoted Clarets.

Substitute Zaroury was sent off in stoppage time after his tackle on Walker was judged serious foul play after referee Craig Pawson watched the incident back on the VAR’s instruction.

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