Young Boys 1–3 Man City: Erling Haaland completes the hat trick with two more goals to maintain the city’s unbeaten start to the Champions League.
- At Bern’s Stadion Wankdorf, Man City wins on the road in Europe.
- Despite not playing very well, Erling Haaland scored twice.
- In the Champions League, Pep Guardiola’s squad has won 16 straight games.
Manchester City defeated Young Boys on Wednesday night to win their third straight group match, putting them on the verge of the Champions League knockout stage.
On a night that wasn’t particularly memorable for the defending European champions, two goals from Erling Haaland—one from the penalty spot—made the difference. Early in the second half, Manuel Akanji gave City the lead, but Meschack Elia of Young Boys responded to tie the score.
How the match played out:
Rodri came dangerously close to giving City the lead at the opposite end with a low header that flashed wide, and Ederson denied a strong effort from Filip Ugrinic as both teams had early chances in a brisk start at Stadion Wankdorf. Additionally, Matheus Nunes leaned over from the center of the box.
Midway through the first half, Young Boys gave up on their fast start and increasingly resorted to containment tactics as City started to generate opportunities one after another.
When Young Boys keeper Anthony Racioppi immediately narrowed the angle and got the smallest of touches to divert the shot, Haaland’s eyes brightened up. A few seconds later, Jeremy Doku should have scored but appeared to slide as he took the shot, giving Racioppi a chance.
Young Boys made a fleeting danger on the break, but City came agonizingly close after Racioppi mishandled a Jack Grealish attempt and Nunes’s mad dash for goal was cleared off the line. Just before the half, Racioppi performed considerably better, showing off his ability to parry Doku’s looping attempt from the left and then make a save with his legs when Rodri met the ball on a volley from a corner.
Just a few moments after halftime, a set piece finally broke the Swiss resistance. Unfortunately, Racioppi mishandled Ruben Dias’ header and saved it with an incredible reflex save. Akanji was the first to respond and put the ball in the net when it rebounded.
However, as soon as it appeared that City would easily win, the hosts retaliated. Elia calmly lofted the ball over a hapless Ederson after a single pass across the middle beat the defense.
Young Boys were encouraged by the goal, but with 25 minutes left, Grealish’s sly dash across the pitch created panic, and Rodri was ultimately knocked down in the box, restoring City’s lead. Haaland made no mistakes, and it was a soft penalty—not so soft that it was likely to be reversed.
VAR intervened after observing the ball accidentally contact Grealish’s hand during the buildup, preventing City from scoring a clinical third goal, which was scored by replacement Julian Alvarez. Then, an uncharacteristic pause from Haaland cost him a goal that he most likely would have scored the previous season. Despite his lackluster performance, the Norwegian managed to score the third goal for City with his weaker right foot, making the Young Boys defense appear fatigued.
Following the match, Guardiola gave his players credit for overcoming the difficulties presented by Switzerland’s artificial pitch. The synthetic surface at Young Boys’ Wankdorf Stadium was mentioned by the city manager, who acknowledged that his team noticed a difference from their customary grass pitch.
“That was a really good game. We had an extremely strong positional game,” Guardiola said to TNT Sports.
Mateo (Kovacic) was a little off position in the first half, and we struggled to be aggressive in one-on-one situations because of their aggressiveness. Mateo helped us win the game in the second half.