Erling Haaland made history with five goals, including a first-half hat trick, to send Manchester City into the quarterfinals in emphatic fashion with a 7-0 win over RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday to win 8-1 on aggregate.
Haaland was at his superhuman best as he joined Lionel Messi as the only players to score five times in a Champions League knockout stage game, and one of only three players (along with Luiz Adriano) to score five in any Champions League match.
His record-equaling haul also saw the Norwegian marksman move onto 39 goals for the season to break City’s single-season scoring record previously set by Tommy Johnson in 1928-29.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
– Champions League knockout round draw: Full details
“It’s a big night. Firstly, I’m proud to play in this competition, I love it. Five goals. To win 7-0 is amazing,” he said.
“My super strength is scoring goals. Should I be honest? A lot of goals today, I didn’t think. I was just trying to get it into the back of the net,” he added. “A lot of it is being quick in the mind and trying to put it where the goalkeeper is not.”
The round-of-16 tie was evenly poised after a 1-1 draw in Germany but the Premier League champions, led by Haaland, made light work of Leipzig back in Manchester to reach the quarterfinals for the sixth straight season.
With City dominant in the early stages, Haaland put the hosts ahead in the tie in the 22nd minute when converting a penalty after a controversial handball call against Leipzig defender Benjamin Henrichs.
Just over a minute later, and with Leipzig still smarting from that penalty award, City took complete control.
Kevin De Bruyne, back in the starting lineup and back to his best after some pre-match prodding from Pep Guardiola, unleashed a sensational left-footed drive against the underside of the crossbar that Haaland followed up to head into an unguarded net.
With the goal, Haaland became the youngest (22 years, 236 days) and quickest (25 games) to reach 30 Champions League goals.
But the Norwegian was not close to being done.
In the last action of the first half, Haaland again showed his predatory instincts when Leipzig’s Amadou Haidara cleared the ball off the line but straight against the City striker after Ruben Dias‘ header had struck the post.
The goal meant Haaland joined Messi as the only players to score a first-half hat trick in a Champions League knockout game and was his first three-goal haul in the competition since he made his debut with FC Salzburg in 2019.
But there was still plenty more to come in the second half.
Ilkay Gundogan briefly snatched some limelight from his teammate with a well-placed finish in the 49th minute following a neat exchange with Jack Grealish but the Haaland show was only momentarily interrupted.
His fourth and fifth goals came in the 53rd and 57th minutes, both through predatory close-range finishes, to complete his five-goal haul in 57 minutes. That’s quicker than both Messi (84 minutes) and Luiz Adriano (82 minutes) managed the same feat.
And after falling agonizingly short for so many seasons in this competition, Haaland did everything possible to suggest he could be the difference-maker to finally deliver a Champions League title to the blue half of Manchester.
City still had time to match their record victory in a UEFA competition when De Bruyne got his reward for a fine performance with an unstoppable strike in stoppage time to make it 7-0 and complete Leipzig’s misery with their heaviest-ever defeat.