Manchester City striker Erling Haaland wasted no time opening his account for the new Premier League season with two goals as the champions began a 3-0 run against promoted Burnley at Turf Moor on Friday.
Haaland, who scored a Premier League-record 36 goals and a total of 52 goals in all competitions for treble winners City last season, put his side in front after in four minutes.
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A superb finish from the Norwegian star in the 36th minute put City on cruise control, with the only blot on their copybook being Kevin De Bruyne’s injury that forced him off in the first half.
City boss Pep Guardiola later told the BBC that the Belgium midfielder was set to be out “for a while,” after confirming it was the same hamstring injury that forced De Bruyne to be substituted in June’s Champions League final.
Rodri headed in City’s third from close range after 75 minutes to make it a chastening return to the top flight for a Burnley side managed by former City captain Vincent Kompany.
To complete Burnley’s misery, substitute Anass Zaroury was sent off in stoppage time for a nasty tackle on City’s Kyle Walker, the decision being upgraded from a yellow card by referee Craig Pawson afterwards. in a VAR check.
If anyone thought that Haaland, 23, might struggle to match the record-smashing exploits of his first season in England, or wondered whether it would take him a long time to recover, they were given an immediate answer.
He looked razor sharp from the opening whistle as City, who had no new faces in their starting lineup, sent an early warning to any side trying to stop them from winning a fourth straight. title in English.
Haaland’s opening goal was a typical Hunters effort, curling a shot past goalkeeper James Trafford after Rodri headed a De Bruyne cross back into the area.
Burnley recovered from an early setback and almost punished City for a blunder when Lyle Foster fired a shot wide of the far post.
De Bruyne didn’t last long, though, limping off to be replaced by new signing Mateo Kovacic.
But that didn’t stop City’s rhythm and they doubled their lead when a patient recovery ended with Julián Álvarez teeing up Haaland, who sent a clinical effort curling in with his left. foot into the net via the far post.
The second half was a lesson in game management to City, who were content to run the legs from Burnley.
They added a third when Rodri, the scorer of the Champions League final goal exactly two months ago that sealed City’s treble, collapsed at home after Burnley failed to deal with a set piece played in their penalty area.
Haaland was replaced later on while City also offered a late cameo to new defensive signing Josko Gvardiol.