Soccer

Manchester City complete two-goal comeback behind Erling Haaland’s first Premier League hat trick

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Manchester City looked like they were in trouble in the first half when they were down 2-0 to Crystal Palace, but Pep Guardiola’s side did what they do best to storm back for a 4-2 victory at the Etihad. Erling Haaland scored his first goal in front of the City faithful them very quickly turned things into a hat trick as City put a subpar first half behind them.

Patrick Vieira had his team setup well in the first half forcing John Stones into an own goal only four minutes into the match. Before long, Palace would put their first shot on target into the net to double their advantage only 21 minutes into the game. An Eberechi Eze free kick found Joachim Andersen unmarked in the box for his first Crystal Palace goal and little did Crystal Palace know that this would be their high point of the match.

On another day, the story of the mach could have been City’s lack of depth at center back thanks to Stones’ struggles compoundigg Nathan Ake’s performances earlier in the season, but defense only matters so much when you have a goal hungry striker like Haaland on your team. Guardiola shifted the tide by withdrawing Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez for Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan. The change into a free-flowing attacking formation was too much for Crystal palace to deal with, especially when their defense also took a hit after Tyrick Mitchell was shaken up and had to be replaced by American Chris Richards.

Guardiola targeted Richards’ side to good effect after Bernardo’s opening goal in the 53rd minute. From there it was Haaland time as Phil Foden set him up with a peach of a cross to level the score in the 62nd minute.

Good teams are goal hungry teams and City could see their opportunity to turn the game on its head, only taking eight minutes for Haaland to get another. Stones was trying to shoot for goal himself, but the ball ended up being a perfect pass to Haaland’s feet. From there, he did what he does best putting his finish past Vicente Guaita. City even were able to dispel hope that Palace would get back into things as Haaland finished his hat trick in the 81st minute taking a stranglehold on the golden boot race by scoring his sixth goal of the season.

A comeback draw against Newcastle last week, followed by defeating Crystal Palace Saturday shows Manchester City can’t be counted out of any game. It places an immense amount of pressure on the opposition because if they aren’t perfect, City has too much firepower to be stopped.

For City, this is also what having a feared striker like Haaland does. He took seven shots and three ended up in the back of the net. Once City got rolling Palace weren’t able to stop him, no matter what they tried. He has hit the ground running, bringing his form from Borussia Dortmund to the Premier League without missing a beat, and as long as he’s healthy, the sky is the limit for what he can accomplish with City. This is an appetizer for what Guardiola will want him to do in Champions League play. As City fight for their first Champions League win, their mantra will surely be that through Haaland, all things are possible.



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