EPL

Julian Alvarez has birthday to remember as Erling Haaland returns in City win

By Sports Desk January 31, 2024

Julian Alvarez struck twice and Erling Haaland returned to action as Manchester City eased to a 3-1 win over relegation-threatened Burnley.

Argentinian World Cup-winner Alvarez, on his 24th birthday, netted twice in the first half and Rodri added a third as the champions went untroubled until Ameen Al-Dakhil grabbed a stoppage-time consolation at the Etihad Stadium.

City were further cheered by the sight of Haaland returning from injury as a late substitute while Kevin De Bruyne made his first Premier League start since August.

It was a miserable return to the ground for former City captain Vincent Kompany, the Burnley manager, with his side comprehensively beaten and left seven points adrift of safety.

Given their predicament and having conceded 37 goals in their previous nine visits to the Etihad, the Clarets were hardly expected to trouble the treble winners.

Yet this was an especially limp performance and City, aided by some poor defending, barely got out of second gear.

After 15 minutes of the home side calmly controlling possession, Phil Foden caught the visitors off-guard as he released Matheus Nunes with a flicked ball.

The Portuguese’s first cross was blocked but he was given all the time he needed to attempt it for a second time, and casually picked out an unmarked Alvarez to head home from close range.

Burnley were caught napping again just six minutes later as the striker doubled City’s lead from a cleverly-taken set-piece.

De Bruyne spotted a huge gap in the area as he lined up a free-kick and played a low ball in for Alvarez to turn and slot past former City youngster James Trafford.

It was a routine that had clearly been worked on in training as manager Pep Guardiola made a point of congratulating his assistant Carlos Vicens, a dead-ball specialist.

City threatened more as Nunes tested Trafford from a tight angle and a dangerous Jeremy Doku cross was turned behind.

Burnley had a rare chance when Lyle Foster curled an effort narrowly wide but City tightened their grip in the opening minute of the second half.

Foden was again instrumental as he raced onto a De Bruyne throughball and pulled back for Rodri, who nonchalantly passed into the net from the edge of the area.

Burnley had a fleeting opportunity as Zeki Amdouni blazed over and their frustration was evident as Connor Roberts got involved in a needless confrontation with Rico Lewis and Ederson.

After that the biggest cheers from City fans came as Haaland entered the fray 19 minutes from time.

He was unable to find the net despite some good runs and one air shot.

Burnley had the final say when Al-Dakhil turned in a cross from debutant David Datro Fofana’s cross but the outcome had long since been determined.

Related items

  • Ten Hag reveals Man Utd future was settled 'on holiday in Ibiza' Ten Hag reveals Man Utd future was settled 'on holiday in Ibiza'

    Erik ten Hag revealed his Manchester United future was settled whilst on holiday in Ibiza, though he is yet to agree a contract extension at Old Trafford.

    The Dutchman's future with the Red Devils was in doubt following a disappointing 2023-24 season, in which they recorded their lowest Premier League finish of eighth.

    Although Ten Hag, who has a year remaining on his existing contract, did lead United to FA Cup glory following a 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester City in the final at Wembley.

    The club's new co-owner Jim Ratcliffe reportedly spoke to several candidates to potentially replace the Dutchman, including former Chelsea and Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel.

    Ten Hag confirmed this, before United officials visited him to confirm he would remain in charge, and they would extend his stay at Old Trafford.

    "The club management came to me while I was on holiday in Ibiza," he told Dutch TV channel NOS. "They suddenly showed up on my doorstep and told me they wanted to continue with me."

    "Ineos took their time. They are new to football; it's normal to reflect on the season. It's no secret that they talked with multiple candidates.

    "In the Netherlands, that is not done. You are not even allowed to talk to another club if there is a current manager there. But in England, the rules and laws are different.

    "Manchester United have told me that they spoke with Tuchel, but they eventually came to the conclusion that they already have the best manager.

    "We had a good discussion and various topics were discussed. One of the conclusions is that we will extend the contract, but we still have to reach an agreement."

  • No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad No changes as Brazil confirm final Copa America squad

    Dorival Junior has stuck with the same 26-man squad he provisionally selected for Brazil's 2024 Copa America campaign.

    Juventus' Bremer, Atalanta midfielder Ederson and Porto forward Pepe were all called up when CONMEBOL announced the squads were being expanded from 23 players to 26.

    The Brazilian had already had to make changes after Manchester City's Ederson was ruled out due to an injury sustained at the end of the Premier League season, with Rafael brought in to replace him.

    Lucas Paqueta also keeps his place after the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) confirmed he would be allowed to stay with the squad despite being charged by the England Football Association (FA) for allegedly breaching betting rules.

    Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Thiago Silva had already been left out of the provisional squad announced in May, while Richarlison and Neymar are both missing due to injury.

    Brazil are nine-time winners of the Copa America and will begin their campaign against Costa Rica on June 24 before also facing Paraguay and Colombia in Group D.

    Final Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Bento (Atletico PR), Rafael (Sao Paolo), Beraldo (PSG), Bremer (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel (Arsenal), Marquinhos (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), Yan Couto (Girona), Guilherme Arana (Atletico MG), Wendell (Porto), Andreas Pereira (Fulham), Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Ederson (Atalanta), Joao Gomes (Wolves), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Endrick (Palmeiras), Evanilson (Porto), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Pepe (Porto), Raphinha (Barcelona), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Savinho (Girona), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

  • Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football Raphinha hits back after Mbappe's criticism of South American football

    Raphinha has responded to Kylian Mbappe's claims that the Euros are harder than the World Cup by reminding the Frenchman who beat them in the 2022 final.

    In an interview, Mbappe noted that France had not won the European Championships in 24 years, which is something he will be looking to change this year.

    That observation then led to him saying, "The Euros is a difficult competition, more than a World Cup. All the teams know each other, and the style of soccer is similar. Group stages are difficult."

    However, Brazil's Raphinha was not happy with the 25-year-old's comparison, pointing out that Argentina prevented them from winning the World Cup in 2022.

    "Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he lost a World Cup against a South American team," Raphinha said in a press conference ahead of the Copa America.

    The Barcelona winger also referenced other comments made by Mbappe from a couple of years ago. The new Real Madrid star implied World Cup qualification was easier in South America than in Europe, and suggested the football "wasn't as advanced".

    Raphinha added, "I would like to see the European teams playing in the South American qualifiers on the fields where we play. That's when I'd see if it's easy or hard."

    Brazil begin their Copa America campaign against Costa Rica on June 24, while France will face Austria in their Euro 2024 opener on Monday.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.