EPL

West Ham 0-2 Manchester City: Haaland's debut double gives champions winning start

By Sports Desk August 07, 2022

Erling Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut as Manchester City beat West Ham 2-0 at London Stadium.

A first-half penalty from Haaland was followed by a typically clinical finish when the big-money signing after the break, as the champions picked up three points from their opening game. 

With Haaland seen as the striker Pep Guardiola has been lacking since Sergio Aguero's departure, it was fitting that the new arrival became only the second City player to score a brace on his Premier League bow, with the former Argentina international being the other in August 2011.

Hammers boss David Moyes was forced to start full-back Ben Johnson at centre-back alongside Kurt Zouma, with Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and new signing Nayef Aguerd all out injured.

It took a while for City to get going, and they thought they had taken the lead when a neat move down the left led to Haaland playing in Ilkay Gundogan, who squared for Kevin De Bruyne to sweep home, only for the offside flag to go up.

Moyes's injury problems mounted further as Lukasz Fabianski had to go off after taking a knock in a challenge for the ball with Haaland, Alphonse Areola replacing him.

One of Areola's first contributions was to bring down Haaland when he was through on goal to concede a 36th-minute penalty, which the Norway striker dispatched calmly, sending Areola the wrong way.

Declan Rice skied a presentable chance over after a Gundogan error early in the second half, and some uncharacteristic misplaced City passes crept in as the Hammers looked for an equaliser, turning to their own new striker Gianluca Scamacca to come on just before the hour.

Haaland struck again after 65 minutes, though, when a City counter-attack saw De Bruyne slide his new team-mate in and the former Borussia Dortmund man placed his shot coolly past Areola to seal the points.

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    England must stick with Phil Foden despite an "off night" against Serbia in their Euro 2024 opener, according to Manchester United great Roy Keane.

    Foden created just one chance in Sunday's 1-0 victory as the Manchester City star moved to the left flank, making way to accommodate an attack of Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane.

    The 24-year-old still managed 19 passes in the final third, only bettered by match-winning team-mate Jude Bellingham (24), but failed to register a single shot in an unusually quiet outing.

    Former United midfielder Keane has no doubts over Foden's ability, however, and lamented critics calling for his dropping from Gareth Southgate's starting XI.

    "This idea that you should start taking him out of the team, Phil Foden is an amazing, fantastic player who has had a great season," Keane said on ITV on Monday.

    "OK, he was quiet last night but he is entitled to an off night. Don't be writing this kid off. He has got so much talent. You stick with him.

    "You can talk about tactics and systems until the cows come home. Foden and these quality players will produce. He had a quiet night. Relax, everyone. He will be fine."

    Bellingham stole the show as his 13th-minute header from Saka's deflected right-wing cross proved the difference.

    Real Madrid's Champions League-winning midfielder also became the first player to score for the Three Lions at both the World Cup and European Championship while playing his club football outside of England.

    Kane was another to be kept quiet by Serbia, though the England captain had a late header expertly pushed away by Predrag Rajkovic.

    Keane insists Southgate's plethora of talent will always deliver in some form, though, whether it comes from Kane, Bellingham, Foden or any other player.

    "They have got to stay calm with it all," Keane added. "Because they have three or four world-class players, when Kane or Foden are having a bit of an off-night, players like Bellingham will step up.

    "It might be Foden or Kane in the next game. That is the beauty of having four or five world-class players."

    England head to Frankfurt on Thursday to face Denmark, aiming to extend their embryonic lead at the top of Group C before their final meeting with Slovenia.

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    The Real Madrid midfielder built on the momentum from his memorable debut season with Los Blancos, for whom he scored 23 goals and helped win LaLiga and the Champions League.

    The second player after Michael Owen to score at the World Cup and European Championship before turning 21, he is also the first to do so for the Three Lions while playing his club football outside of England.

    And Tadic, who appeared as a second-half substitute in Serbia's first match at the European Championship as a unified nation, paid tribute to the 20-year-old.

    When asked whether he thought Bellingham was the difference in the Group C contest, the Eagles skipper told reporters: "Yes, definitely. I think he is a great player and a great personality. I think he has everything to win the next Ballon d'Or.

    "I think everything that he did was great today, he showed personality, he took England to the next level. He was always asking for the ball and I think he had a great game.

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  • Scriptwriter Bellingham thrills England boss Southgate Scriptwriter Bellingham thrills England boss Southgate

    Gareth Southgate said Jude Bellingham "writes his own scripts" after the England star sealed a 1-0 win for the Three Lions over Serbia.

    The Real Madrid midfielder was on target in Gelsenkirchen to take his international tally to four goals, becoming just the second player to score at both the World Cup and Euros before the age of 21 in the process.

    Bellingham timed his run into the penalty area to perfection to head Bukayo Saka's cross beyond Predrag Rajkovic, and put on yet another mature display way beyond his years.

    "I mean he writes his own scripts doesn't he," Southgate told BBC Sport.

    "The timing of his runs, it was a super bit of play in the build-up to the goal as well, and I thought at different moments all of our forward players looked dangerous."

    Southgate maintained his record of winning the opening in all four of the major tournaments that he has been in the England dugout, with only Alf Ramsey having a better win rate at international competitions. 

    England dominated the first half, but were forced to grind out the victory against a revitalised Serbia side following the interval.

    Southgate feels the way in which the game played out was good for his team heading into the encounter with Denmark on Thursday, though.

    "That's the reality of tournaments," said Southgate when asked if the victory was tougher than he was expecting. 

    "They are a strong team, and we had to suffer a bit which I think is really good for us to come through and defend out box the way we did was important for the group. 

    "We obviously had good chances to extend our lead and to kill the game which we didn't manage to take, so I was really pleased with a lot of the play, especially the first half."

    England were limited to just five shots throughout the contest, with Harry Kane coming closest in the second half as he saw his header brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Rajkovic. 

    Southgate referenced the difficulty of playing against Serbia's compact defensive rearguard, but was confident his forward line will be firing on all cylinders in the fixtures that follow.

    "Today was just the finishing and a good save from the goalkeeper with the header towards the end. But that will come," he added.

    "I am confident that we will score goals. We were playing against a back five which is not easy to create chances but we did and in the end, one was enough. 

    "I liked the fact that we had to suffer a bit without the ball because I think that is an area we have worked on a lot this week, and we were obviously so much better than we were last week in doing that."

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