Erling Haaland scores five as Manchester City destroy Luton in FA Cup

By Sports Desk February 27, 2024

Erling Haaland scored five of Manchester City’s six goals in a superb individual display as the FA Cup holders thrashed Luton at Kenilworth Road to progress to the quarter-finals.

City’s top scorer made it 27 for the season despite having missed almost two months with a foot injury, driving his team on to a ruthless 6-2 victory, though the win owed as much to the excellent Kevin De Bruyne, architect of four of his team-mate’s goals.

Mateo Kovacic also scored with a worthy strike of his own late on after Jordan Clark had netted either side of the interval to haul Luton from three down to within a single goal. In truth, though, they never really got close to City.

Pep Guardiola’s side were irresistible in the first half, ripping through Luton from all angles with De Bruyne and Haaland at their electric best. It took under three minutes to make their breakthrough.

Manuel Akanji brought it out of defence and fed Matheus Nunes ahead of him on the left. Nunes stood up Amari’i Bell and played a clever reverse pass that split Luton’s back line and ran through to De Bruyne, and he raised his glance to see Haaland waiting to wrap his left boot around the ball and thump it home from 10 yards.

Luton’s Teden Mengi had competed well with Haaland, matching him for power and strength in one-on-one duels, but after 18 minutes the City striker won out and doubled his side’s lead. De Bruyne again was the creator, receiving it from Haaland on halfway and returning it into the Norwegian’s stride. He burst beyond Mengi and crashed it through the legs of Tim Krul with unerring cool.

His hat-trick nearly arrived soon after, a ball threaded through at pace by John Stones finding his run, but this time Krul raced out and blocked. Nunes was next to go close, thrashing wide at the near post after finding space inside the box.

City threatened to run riot. De Bruyne hit a low volley brilliantly beaten out by the right arm of Krul, who was rewarded with good fortune on the rebound when Haaland’s follow-up landed in his gloves.

Luton wanted offside for Haaland’s third, but VAR showed he had timed his run off the shoulder substitute Joe Johnson expertly. The finish, chipped over Krul as he advanced, oozed confidence.

It looked like being a near-perfect half for Guardiola, marred only by the loss of Jack Grealish just before the break to injury.

Then out of nothing, Luton brought a roar from home fans on the stroke of the interval, a brilliant finish sent spinning into Stefan Ortega’s top corner from 25 yards by Clark.

They came at City at the start of the second half with the same ferocity with which the holders had begun the match, and they were rewarded similarly early. Clark was closer to goal this time though the angle was devilish. A shot across the goalkeeper looked to be on, but instead he lashed it towards the near post and beyond Ortega for 3-2.

It gave Kenilworth Road all of three minutes to dream. That was all it took for Haaland to score his and his team’s fourth, De Bruyne again the provider as he squared for a simple tap-in.

His fifth was harsh on Krul, a left-foot drive squirming through the goalkeeper as though bamboozled by City’s dizzying onslaught. Haaland had scored five in under an hour.

Kovacic added his name to the scoresheet, rifling one in in the 72nd minute to deepen Luton’s misery.

There was at least late respite when Haaland was brought off in the closing stages. It had been his and City’s night.

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