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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Haaland returns to haunt Leeds

Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland (right) scores their second goal. — Reuters
Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland (right) scores their second goal. — Reuters
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LEEDS, United Kingdom: Erling Haaland lamented not scoring five times in the city of his birth as the Norwegian struck twice in Manchester City’s 3-1 win at Leeds to lift them back up to second in the Premier League.


Haaland spent his early years in Yorkshire as his father Alfe Inge played for Leeds, but showed no mercy as City got their title challenge back on track.


Pep Guardiola’s men moved to within five points of Arsenal at the top of the table as they bounced back from a shock defeat to Brentford before the World Cup.


Haaland now has 20 Premier League goals in just 14 appearances since joining City, but was still left unsatisfied after failing to beat Illan Meslier with three one-on-ones.


“I could’ve scored five, that’s the truth,” Haaland told Amazon Prime. “We win, that’s the most important thing. You see Arsenal at the top now, we have to hunt them, but for me as a striker, I could’ve scored a couple more.


“That’s life, I have to practise more.”


Haaland should have made his mark inside 45 seconds as he was denied by a fine save from Meslier when clean through.


That set the tone for a first half of frustration for City as a series of glorious chances came and went.


Meslier won another battle with Haaland, while two glaring misses from Jack Grealish left Guardiola with his head in his hands.


However, Leeds crucially failed to hold out until half-time on level terms as the visitors finally made their dominance count in first half stoppage time.


Kevin De Bruyne opened up the Leeds defence for the opener and when Riyad Mahrez’s shot was parried by Meslier, Rodri swept the rebound into the net.


Grealish made some amends for his earlier misses by creating the second with a smart interception and unselfish pass for Haaland to roll into an empty net.


The City star acknowledged his Leeds past by refusing to celebrate, but it did not stop him adding a second on the night from another Grealish cutback.


“I have to say, it’s a really special moment in my career,” Haaland said of playing at Elland Road.


“It was in my craziest fantasy I could think of to be at Elland Road and score for Manchester City against Leeds.”


Leeds remain perilously poised just two points above the relegation zone, but did at least get a goal to show for their efforts when Pascal Struijk headed in from a corner 17 minutes from time.


Haaland did at least spare the home side his fourth Premier League hat-trick with an uncharacteristically weak finish with just Meslier to beat once more.


At the other end Joe Gelhardt’s curling effort was inches away from setting up a grandstand finish.


But a two-goal margin of victory was the very least City’s display deserved as they leapfrogged Newcastle into second in the table. — AFP


English Premier League results


On Wednesday:


Leeds 1 (Struijk 73) Manchester City 3 (Rodri 45+1, Haaland 51, 64)


Played on TuesdayChelsea 2 (Havertz 16, Mount 24) Bournemouth 0Manchester United 3 (Rashford 19, Martial 22, Fred 87) Nottingham Forest 0


English Premier League table after Wednesday’s match


played won drawn lost goals for goals against points


Arsenal 15 13 1 1 36 12 40


Man City 15 11 2 2 43 15 35


Newcastle 16 9 6 1 32 11 33


Tottenham 16 9 3 4 33 23 30


Man Utd 15 9 2 4 23 20 29


Liverpool 15 7 4 4 31 18 25


Brighton 15 7 3 5 26 20 24


Chelsea 15 7 3 5 19 17 24


Fulham 16 6 4 6 27 26 22


Brentford 16 4 8 4 25 27 20


Crystal Palace 15 5 4 6 15 21 19


Aston Villa 16 5 3 8 17 25 18


Leicester 16 5 2 9 25 28 17


Bournemouth 16 4 4 8 18 34 16


Leeds 15 4 3 8 23 29 15


West Ham 16 4 2 10 13 20 14


Everton 16 3 5 8 12 19 14


Wolves 16 3 4 9 10 25 13


Nottm Forest 16 3 4 9 11 33 13


Southampton 16 3 3 10 14 30 12


English Premier League points table


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