Erling Haaland nets twice as Manchester City 'hunt' leaders Arsenal

Norwegian striker has 26 goals for the season after 3-1 win at Leeds

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Erling Haaland added two more goals to his season’s tally as Manchester City won 3-1 at Leeds to narrow the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Haaland struck twice in the second half against the team he supported as a boy due to his father Alfe-Inge’s time as a player at Elland Road.

The Leeds-born Norway striker notched his 25th and 26th goals in 20 appearances for City this season after Rodri had broken the deadlock in first-half stoppage time.

Pascal Struijk headed in a 73rd-minute corner for Leeds, but although that lifted the home faithful and prompted a late flurry from his side, the result was never in doubt.

Haaland told Amazon Prime: "I have a target but I cannot say it. I just said inside the dressing room that I could have scored five but the most important thing is that we won.

"We have to hunt Arsenal. I could have scored a couple more but that's life and I have to train more.

"I've been at home, a bit mad that I've not been at the World Cup. I recharged my batteries.

"Watching other people score to win games at the World Cup triggered, motivated and irritated me. I'm more hungry than ever."

On playing against Leeds at Elland Road, he added: "It's special. I'm happy - it's a special moment in my career. It's crazy - it was a fantasy of mine to score at Elland Road for City."

Pep Guardiola’s side, who last week knocked Liverpool out of the League Cup, bounced back from their home league defeat to Brentford before the World Cup break and climbed to within five points of top spot.

Haaland threatened to open the scoring after just 30 seconds as he raced on to a ball over the top and forced Illan Meslier to save.

Kevin De Bruyne curled City’s next effort wide six minutes later and bent a superb cross just out of Ilkay Gundogan’s reach soon after.

Gundogan flashed a low shot narrowly off target and after Leeds had worked tirelessly to contain City for the next 20 minutes, Haaland forced Meslier into another crucial save with his legs after being slipped in by De Bruyne.

Willy Gnonto blazed Leeds’ first effort on goal way over the crossbar in the 34th minute as the home side spent most of the first period in their own half.

Grealish spurned two golden chances with miscued efforts from in front of goal, but just when Leeds appeared to have kept the champions at bay until the interval, Rodri broke the deadlock.

Riyad Mahrez’s low angled drive was saved by Meslier and the Spain midfielder turned home the rebound for his first goal of the season.

The same pattern resumed at the start of the second half as City patiently retained possession and the visitors were gifted a second goal in the 51st minute.

Skipper Liam Cooper’s misplaced pass to fellow centre-half Robin Koch was snaffled by Grealish and after racing clear on goal the England forward squared the ball for Haaland to steer home.

Haaland put City 3-0 up in the 64th minute, firing home first-time following another excellent assist from Grealish.

Leeds gave the home faithful something to cheer in the 73rd minute when Struijk beat his marker Manuel Akanji to head home Sam Greenwood’s corner.

Updated: December 28, 2022, 10:24 PM
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