Saturday evening at the Etihad was a fun affair. Vincent Kompany's homecoming as manager of the claret and blue Burnley, who sit atop the Championship standings, was an event not to be missed. Manchester City came out on top 6-0 winners, with Erling Haaland scoring his sixth hat-trick since signing for the club, Julian Alvarez scoring a brace, and Cole Palmer also getting on the scoresheet.
A rotated side from manager Pep Guardiola after the midweek thumping of RB Leipzig included Stefan Ortega coming in for Ederson, Rico Lewis, Kyle Walker, and Aymeric Laporte taking their spots in the backline, and Riyad Mahrez, Alvarez, and Phil Foden coming into the attack. Along with Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, and Ruben Dias, City set out to stamp their ticket to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
It was a relatively cagey affair for the first 20 minutes. Burnley's press was stunting City's ability to build any sort of attack. The first chance of the evening fell to the Championship leaders, as Anass Zaroury slipped the ball into Nathan Tella, whose long-range effort would've found the bottom corner had Ortega not made a crucial intervention.
Burnley grew into the game. A misplaced pass allowed Vitinho in, but 18-year-old Lewis made a sliding tackle to stop the threat. A second amazing slide tackle from Dias and the alarm bells started to ring a little in the minds of the City faithful.
Then, City took over.
Haaland nodded down a long ball to Alvarez, who took the ball in stride. Haaland burst past two Burnley defenders and was just onside as the Argentine played the through ball. Haaland beat Burnley goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to the ball, poking it past him into the empty net. 1-0 City, 32nd minute. Haaland's 40th goal in all competitions this season.
City only had to wait two minutes for a second goal. De Bruyne played the ball down the left-hand side to a surging Foden, who had beaten his man for pace. The City winger lashed a ball just around the Burnley defenders, directly onto Haaland's left foot, who guided a classy finish past the 'keeper. 2-0 City, 35th minute. Haaland's 41st this season.
City were content to cruise into halftime with a two-goal advantage. The last chance of the half fell to Burnley. Ian Maatsen took a shot from outside the box, and Ortega was easily equal to the strike, beating it away.
Two changes for Burnley after the break, with Ashely Barnes and midfielder Jack Cork coming on for Lyle Foster and Johann Gudmundsson, respectively.
In the 51st minute, Cork accidentally slapped the ball away from Foden, resulting in a free kick well within the range of De Bruyne's right foot. Sadly, the Belgian's effort nestled deep into the family stand instead of the net.
City started creating chances thick and fast. A Mahrez volley was blocked by Peacock-Farrell in the 54th minute and a mazy Haaland run was stopped by the 'keeper two minutes later.
Haaland finally got his third of the day in the 59th minute. A Foden shot bounced off the post directly into Haaland's path after some lovely buildup play. The Norwegian hit the ball first time past a flailing Burnley defender. 3-0 City. Haaland's second hat-trick in four days and his 42nd goal of the season.
At this point, the match was clearly won, but City didn't take their foot off the gas. Alvarez got in on the action with a goal in the 62nd minute after latching on to a fantastic De Bruyne cutback after some neat work near the byline to make it 4-0.
City made four substitutions in the next four minutes. Manuel Akanji, Palmer, Sergio Gomez, and Kalvin Phillips came on for Haaland, Rodri, Dias, and Lewis. Burnley made one change as well, bringing on Michael Obafemi for Tella.
Palmer found the back of the net for his first competitive goal of the season after scoring against Barcelona in an August friendly. Peacock-Farrell parried Foden's cross into Palmer's path, who stroked it home. 5-0 City, 68th minute.
City added one more five minutes later. Alvarez made a run in behind the Burnley defence, with De Bruyne picking him out with a lovely through ball beyond the defender. Alvarez sat the defender down by cutting inside, then blasted the ball near post past Peacock-Farrell. 6-0 City, 73rd minute.
A fantastic display by the Premier League champions, particularly in the second half, that will see them now compete in their fourth consecutive FA Cup semi-final.
City will be ball number one in the FA Cup semi-final draw, which is set to take place following the conclusion of Brighton vs Grimsby on Sunday afternoon, with Guardiola's side playing one of the two aforementioned sides, Manchester United or Fulham, or Sheffield United or Blackburn Rovers. The semi-final fixtures are set to be played at Wembley on April 23rd (Saturday) and April 24th (Sunday).
Man of the Match
I mean, who else could it be? With his sixth hat-trick of the season, Haaland was clearly the best performer in the match. De Bruyne, Alvarez, and Foden had shouts for Man of the Match as well.
Ortega - 7
Walker - 7
Dias - 8
Laporte - 7
Lewis - 7
Rodri - 7
Mahrez - 8
Alvarez - 9
De Bruyne - 9
Foden - 8.5
Haaland - 9.5
Substitutes: Akanji - 6, Palmer -7, Gomez - 6, Phillips - 6, Grealish - N/A
Written by: @Ba5que
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