Sevilla 0-4 Manchester City: Devastating Haaland instigates easy win

By Sports Desk September 06, 2022

Erling Haaland was decisive once again with two goals as Manchester City comfortable saw off Sevilla 4-0 in Spain to open their Champions League campaign.

Haaland has enjoyed a devastating start to life at City and was on fire again as he became only the fourth player to score in his first appearance for three different teams in the Champions League.

The only surprising aspect of the game was City and Haaland only managed a single goal in the first half as Sevilla looked every inch of a team desperately short on confidence.

As the hosts became more forward-thinking in the second half, City picked them off as Phil Foden capped a fine display with a goal and Haaland took his season's tally to 12 in seven games, before Ruben Dias put the finishing touches on in stoppage time as he forced home a corner.

City opening the scoring seemed a formality amid a dominant start and the goal duly arrived in the 20th minute as Kevin De Bruyne got in behind Marcos Acuna and teed up a simple finish for Haaland.

Despite City's control, clear-cut chances remained infrequent and Sevilla might have levelled just before the interval, but Papu Gomez smashed over after latching on to Thomas Delaney's knockdown.

It was hardly a shock when City doubled their advantage, though. Yassine Bounou was able to make a fine save to deny De Bruyne when one-on-one, but he could do little to keep Foden's sweeping effort out of the bottom-right corner not long after.

Foden then saw a shot parried right to Haaland for his simple second goal, and Dias rounded off an emphatic win late on with a close-range finish from Joao Cancelo's delivery.

Related items

  • Italy fortunate to only lose by one, concedes Spalletti Italy fortunate to only lose by one, concedes Spalletti

    Italy boss Luciano Spalletti conceded the Azzurri were never in their Euro 2024 game against Spain and felt the defending champions were fortunate not to lose by more than a one-goal margin.

    Riccardo Calafiori's second-half own goal made the difference as Spain defeated Italy 1-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday.

    The defender became the first Italy player to ever put through his own net in a European Championship match and a poor loss left the Azzurri with work still to do to secure progression from Group B.

    Spain fired off 20 shots to Italy's four, also creating 1.9 expected goals (xG) to the Azzurri's 0.18 and enjoying 57.2 per cent of the possession, with La Roja clinching their place in the knockout rounds.

    Spalletti was honest in his post-match assessment, with a huge clash against Croatia in Leipzig to follow on Monday.

    "It is a result they [Spain] deserved and beyond the one-goal difference," Spalletti told reporters.

    "They deserved to win it and we were never in the game

    "Besides the final 20 minutes of the match we were never able to create situations which would allow us to actually compete against a brand of football of this level.

    "They caused us problems larger than the scoreline suggested, let’s not beat around the bush. 

    "Spain were a team on the night and we were not able to be a team."

    If they are to lift more silverware in Berlin next month, Italy will need a dramatic improvement, as attempting just four shots in the match meant it was their fewest on record (since 1980) in any Euros game.

    By contrast Spain, who were drawn into what many believed to be the toughest group at the tournament, have  made light work of some difficult opponents, thrashing Croatia 3-0 before comfortably overcoming Italy.

    They have clinched top spot in Group B with a game to spare, while Italy are second on three points, two clear of Croatia and Albania going into the final round of games.

    Finding a way to increase his players' energy levels was on Spalletti's mind going into the clash with Zlatko Dalic's side.

    Spalletti added: "Maybe I needed to give them more rest, I probably need to give them more days off.

    "We gave them a day and a half off in terms of rest and we saw that was the right decision in terms of our data.

    "But there was too much of a gulf, we were constantly stretched, we probably didn't recover very well in terms of just how demanding and important the [start of the] tournament was itself, because there was too much of a gulf in terms of sharpness and freshness.

    "You can't necessarily talk about anything else, overall. If you don't have the same stamina as the opposition, obviously you can't do things with the same reactivity, the same speed of reaction."

    If Italy are able to secure second place in Group B, they will face the runners-up in Group A, a position currently held by Switzerland, in the last 16.

  • De la Fuente hails Spain squad as world's best after Italy win De la Fuente hails Spain squad as world's best after Italy win

    Spain coach Luis de la Fuente believes he is working with the best group of players in world football after La Roja clinched their place in the Euro 2024 knockout rounds by beating Italy.

    Spain were drawn into what many believed to be the toughest group at the tournament but have made light work of some difficult opponents, thrashing Croatia 3-0 before overcoming Italy 1-0 on Thursday.

    They have clinched top spot in Group B with a game to spare, with Riccardo Calafiori's own goal handing them their deserved victory over the reigning champions.

    Spain fired off 20 shots to Italy's four in Gelsenkirchen, also creating 1.9 expected goals (xG) to the Azzurri's 0.18 and enjoying 57.2 per cent of the possession.

    This is just the second time La Roja have started a European Championships tournament by winning their first two games to nil, after they beat Czechia 1-0 and Turkiye 3-0 in 2016.

    The likes of Nico Williams, Lamine Yamal and Pedri all dazzled against Italy, leaving De la Fuente convinced he is in charge of the most talent squad at the Euros. 

    "I think we're the best in the world in terms of interpreting various match situations," De la Fuente said at his post-match press conference.

    "Of course, that is really reinforced and strengthened when you win silverware. 

    "But I think it's important to really underline the quality of this generation of players, the players that have broken into this squad. I think the Spanish players are the best in the world."

    While De la Fuente now has the luxury of being able to rest players against Albania on matchday three, he knows there can be no room for complacency in the last 16.

    "I think we were superior across the board from a footballing perspective," he added. "Perhaps it even seemed that Italy played badly, but that's because we played very well.

    "Italy won the Euros three years ago. We're still a long way off winning the European Championship. We haven't yet achieved anything. Okay, we've won some important matches. We have wonderful prospects.

    "But football can also be very cruel. So we need to be cautious. We need to be humble. We need to show respect."

  • Southgate admits England falling short, bemoans midfield options after Denmark draw Southgate admits England falling short, bemoans midfield options after Denmark draw

    Gareth Southgate admits England have fallen short of expectations thus far at Euro 2024, bemoaning their failure to find a replacement for Kalvin Phillips in midfield.

    Having opened their Group C campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Serbia last week, England failed to clinch top spot with a game to spare as they were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday.

    Harry Kane put the Three Lions ahead after 18 minutes, but they soon fell into old habits and sat deeper against a lively Denmark side, who levelled through Morten Hjulmand's ferocious 25-yard strike.

    While England remain on course to top Group C, sitting two points clear of Denmark and Slovenia, who they face on matchday three, their performance put Southgate under more scrutiny.

    England have attempted just 17 shots – seven of them on target – in their two games at Euro 2024, amassing a total of 1.85 expected goals (xG).

    Scotland are the only team to have played two matches and created a lower xG total, amassing just 0.78 in their 5-1 defeat to Germany and a 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

    Speaking at his post-match press conference, Southgate said: "Clearly, we're disappointed with the level of the two performances we've had, so we've got to go and analyse that in depth and find solutions to addressing the issues we have.

    "We know the level can be higher. Maybe the biggest thing is we have to accept the environment that we're in and the expectations that are around us. At the moment, we're falling a little bit short of that.

    "Ultimately, that's my responsibility. I'm the manager, and I've got to guide this group in the best way possible to achieve extraordinary things."

    Trent Alexander-Arnold came in for particular criticism after retaining his place in midfield, despite no England player bettering his three chances created or five line-breaking passes, even as he was substituted after just 54 minutes.

    In their 2-1 extra-time win over Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-finals, England recorded 31 per cent of their open-play touches in the final third.

    That figure was down to 17 per cent on Thursday as they struggled to progress the ball, with 34 per cent of their touches coming in their own third.

    Southgate believes the absence of Phillips – who was omitted from the squad after failing to nail down a starting spot with either Manchester City or loan club West Ham – has been a difficult problem to solve.

    Asked about Alexander-Arnold's display, Southgate told BBC Sport: "He has had some moments where he has delivered as we thought. 

    "It’s an experiment. We don't have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips. At the moment we're not flowing as we would like.

    "At the moment we're not using the ball well enough and have to accept if you do that you will suffer at times, as we have. We know there's another level we have to find."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.