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Erling Haaland Starts New EPL Season With Two Goals



Erling Haaland was back in the old routine with a devastating display of finishing as Manchester City opened the defence of their Premier League title with a comfortable victory at Burnley.

The goalscoring phenomenon, who hit 52 goals as City won the Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League last season, took only 185 seconds to open his account for the new campaign, striking a blow from which the newly promoted Clarets never recovered.

Haaland pounced in the area when Rodri headed down Kevin de Bruyne’s cross, then curled in a magnificent left-foot strike into the top corner beyond Burnley keeper James Trafford after 36 minutes to effectively end the contest.

Burnley, buoyed by a restive crowd, didn’t give up, but City’s dominance became more apparent as the game went on, with Rodri leading in third at the time after 15 minutes as the home side’s defense failed to take the free kick.

It all ended very comfortably for City, whose night was only marred by another injury to De Bruyne, who left after only 23 minutes to be replaced by summer Mateo Kovacic.

And Burnley sent off Anas Zahouri in injury time, after the assistant referee reviewed the video, for a dangerous lunge on Kyle Walker.

Manchester City showed signs of inevitable decline even though they started the campaign with a win – as demonstrated by the enthusiastic demeanor of exemplary manager Pep Guardiola.

If Haaland’s scoring machine expected a congratulatory hug from his manager as he exited the first half, he was rudely awoken to a scathing lecture from Guardiola, who told the photographer to move away from range while he was speaking to the striker.

He clearly wanted more from Haaland, who showed his killer economy by scoring twice in just six touches in the first half.

It may seem silly to suggest that Haaland is often off the field, but his excellence in front of goal keeps him in the loop and builds the foundation for what has become the champions’ winning habit.

Kovacic played smoothly as a substitute for De Bruyne, but the recurring injury to the Belgian would be a real concern for Guardiola and City.

He had spent the summer recovering from a serious hamstring injury that forced him to withdraw from the Champions League final against Inter Milan after just 36 minutes and he looked depressed when he left here.

Burnley have had their toughest start to the Premier League as manager Vincent Kompany attempts to plot the death of the treble-winner and the club at which he became such a big figure.

It was a draw after Man City took the lead, but Burnley showed real spirit and courage, even creating moments of anxiety for Guardiola’s men when he threatened Lyle Foster and Zaki Amdoni.

In the end, they were subdued by a lenient defense, but more specifically, Haaland’s innate prowess and hunting instincts – and they won’t be the last to suffer that fate this season.

Burnley retained Kompany’s passing techniques, which helped them to an impressive league title last season, while Trafford, the reigning champions at the European Under-21 Championship in England in July, produced an impressive run against his old club.

The Kompany players have had a taste of what they will need this season, but it is the toughest test and even if they lose there will still be plenty to cheer them on.

Boos were heard as players fell to their knees before kick-off and a Turf Moor fan was sent off by Burnley after Manchester City defender Rico Lewis was hit with an object.