Manchester City regained the pole position in the Premier League standings after Matchday 11, and Tuesday saw the Citizens back to their best, setting records in the UEFA Champions League.
Pep Guardiola’s men smacked three goals past Young Boys with a long-range screamer from Erling Haaland in the 51st minute, completing 250 goals in the competition for the Sky Blues. According to ua-football.com, the reigning champions became the 12th outfit to reach the feat in the competition and the quickest to do so in only 119 UCL matches.
Earlier in the first half, Haaland netted a penalty, followed by a Phil Foden goal in injury time of the first half, as Guardiola’s side went into the break at the cusp of history with a 2-0 lead.
When asked about Haaland lifting the next Balon d’ Or title in the post-match press conference, Guardiola quipped, “If Haaland, along with his other mates wins a lot of trophies in the season, he has chances to win it. If they don’t, he is not winning it. Sometimes, you have to fight against the tendency of the people that it is going to happen, we have to make sure it happens. The job is still not over as we have to finish first because it’s better than second for the last 16.”
On a personal level, Haaland reached 39 goals in 34 UCL appearances, the 18th most for a player in the competition, as the 23-year-old has already eclipsed the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Wayne Rooney, Kaka, and Antoine Griezmann with Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero and former Barcelona and PSG forward Neymar also in the Norweigan’s sights.
Since making its debut in the 2011-12 UCL season, Man City has dominated the statistics and records but failed to lift the trophy until June 2023 when they defeated Inter 1-0 in the final courtesy of a goal by Rodri in the 68th minute as former skipper Ilkay Gundogan marked his last appearance with the club by lifting the coveted trophy for the fans.
With 12 points from 4 matches, City leads Group G and will face RB Leipzig on the other side of the international break. Guardiola hopes to finish at the top of the group to get a favourable draw in the Round of 16 of the ongoing tournament.
On the Premier League front, City regained first place after a long spell from Tottenham Hotspurs at the top of the league standings. The Manchester Blues will now face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the last PL encounter before the international break, as Mauricio Pochettino will be looking to rebuild his rivalry against Guardiola.