29, December 2022
Erling Haaland lamented not scoring five times in the city of his birth as the Norwegian struck twice in Manchester City’s 3-1 win at Leeds to lift them back up to second in the Premier League.
Haaland spent his early years in Yorkshire as his father Alfe Inge played for Leeds, but showed no mercy as City got their title challenge back on track.
Pep Guardiola’s men moved to within five points of Arsenal at the top of the table as they bounced back from a shock defeat to Brentford before the World Cup.
Haaland now has 20 Premier League goals in just 14 appearances since joining City, but was still left unsatisfied after failing to beat Illan Meslier with three one-on-ones.
“I could’ve scored five, that’s the truth,” Haaland told Amazon Prime.
“We win, that’s the most important thing. You see Arsenal at the top now, we have to hunt them, but for me as a striker, I could’ve scored a couple more.
“That’s life, I have to practise more.”
Haaland should have made his mark inside 45 seconds as he was denied by a fine save from Meslier when clean through.
That set the tone for a first half of frustration for City as a series of glorious chances came and went.
Meslier won another battle with Haaland, while two glaring misses from Jack Grealish left Guardiola with his head in his hands.
However, Leeds crucially failed to hold out until half-time on level terms as the visitors finally made their dominance count in first half stoppage time.
Kevin De Bruyne opened up the Leeds defence for the opener and when Riyad Mahrez’s shot was parried by Meslier, Rodri swept the rebound into the net.
Grealish made some amends for his earlier misses by creating the second with a smart interception and unselfish pass for Haaland to roll into an empty net.
The City star acknowledged his Leeds past by refusing to celebrate, but it did not stop him adding a second on the night from another Grealish cutback.
“I have to say, it’s a really special moment in my career,” Haaland said of playing at Elland Road.
“It was in my craziest fantasy I could think of to be at Elland Road and score for Manchester City against Leeds.”
Leeds remain perilously poised just two points above the relegation zone, but did at least get a goal to show for their efforts when Pascal Struijk headed in from a corner 17 minutes from time.
Haaland did at least spare the home side his fourth Premier League hat-trick with an uncharacteristically weak finish with just Meslier to beat once more.
At the other end Joe Gelhardt’s curling effort was inches away from setting up a grandstand finish.
But a two-goal margin of victory was the very least City’s display deserved as they leapfrogged Newcastle into second in the table.