Erling Haaland scores five as Man City hit Luton for six in FA Cup

Kevin de Bruyne supplies Norwegian with four assists as City keep treble bid on track

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Manchester City goal machine Erling Haaland scored five goals in a single match against Luton Town as the holders powered into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The Norwegian notched a first-half hat-trick at Kenilworth Road to put City 3-0 up, adding two more in the second half before being replaced by Julian Alvarez in a 6-2 win for the visitors.

It took Haaland's tally to 27 goals in all competitions so far in 2023/24 after scoring 52 goals in his first season at the club.

“My fitness is getting back to its best finally,” he said. “I feel good. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Haaland became the first top-flight player to score five goals in an FA Cup tie since George Best struck six for Manchester United against Northampton Town in 1970.

Already in elite company

It is not the first time Haaland has scored five goals in one match, having notched a quintet in Manchester City's 7-0 win over RB Leipzig in a last-16 Champions League second leg in March 2023.

That milestone put him in elite company of scoring five goals in a single game alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Gerd Muller, Marco van Basten and Fabrizio Ravanelli.

City's record-scorer, Sergio Aguero, once scored five goals in a 6-1 Premier League win against Newcastle United in October 2015.

Haaland still has some way to go to match Archie Thompson's record though. The Australian banged in 13 goals in a 31-0 World Cup qualifier against a hapless American Samoa in April 2001.

Haaland and De Bruyne clicking again

Haaland's first four goals against Luton were all created by Kevin de Bruyne. Mateo Kovacic also got on the scoresheet for holders City who are unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions.

"Kevin de Bruyne is massive. He is doing what he is best at. It's a pleasure playing with him," Haaland, whose hat-trick was his first for City away from home, told ITV.

"We know what we both want from each other. It clicks well. I am getting back to my best. Finally I am feeling good. It's an amazing feeling. It's coming, we're coming. Exciting times ahead. We are ready to attack."

Haaland had scored only five goals in his previous 11 appearances for City – a spell interrupted by a foot injury that some suggested had taken the edge off his game.

But he blew away any doubts in emphatic fashion with a sensational display of centre-forward play.

"Erling was on fire and Kevin was perfect," was City manager Pep Guardiola's verdict. "The connection they have. Erling needs a player like Kevin and Kevin needs a player like Erling.

“My only concern was that Erling had been two months stopped, he couldn’t walk, couldn’t make anything. When you lose two months, that rhythm is not easy to get back.

“Every game he’s getting better. Kevin as well. Step by step, they are coming back.”

City mean business

City meant business from the start and went ahead in the fourth minute as Matheus Nunes played in De Bruyne who cut back a perfect pass for Haaland to fire past Tim Krul.

De Bruyne played Haaland through in the 18th minute to make it 2-0 and Haaland's hat-trick goal was almost a carbon copy as he again rolled his marker and surged on to a De Bruyne pass before dinking a deft shot over Krul.

Jordan Clark gave the home fans some cheer when he curled a perfect shot past Stefan Ortega and Luton punished City for some slack defending just after the restart with Clark finishing well.

But Haaland tapped in a De Bruyne pass a couple of minutes later and then grabbed his fifth from Bernardo Silva's assist before being substituted, much to Luton's relief.

Interesting fact

This wasn't the first time City had beaten Luton Town by a 6-2 scoreline, nor the first time a City player had scored at least five goals against the Hatters.

In 1961, City were beating Luton 6-2 in the FA Cup, with Denis Law bagging all six goals, only for the match to be abandoned with around 20 minutes to go because of a waterlogged pitch. When the game was replayed, City lost 3-1, Law scored again, but the original six goals were wiped from the record books.

Treble repeat remains on course

Tuesday's win means City remain on course to repeat their historic treble of trophies of 2022/23.

City swept the FA Cup, Premier League and crowned a memorable campaign by winning the Champions League for the first time in the club's history with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan in the final.

Guardiola's team trail league leaders Liverpool by a point after 26 matches and hold a 3-1 lead over Copenhagen in the last 16 of their Champions League tie. The second leg takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, March 6.

Updated: February 28, 2024, 7:30 AM