Haaland nets 4 goals as Man City routs Wolves 5-1 to stay in control of Premier League title race

Sat, May 4, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Haaland nets 4 goals as Man City routs Wolves 5-1 to stay in control of Premier League title race

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Erling Haaland scored four goals - including a first-half hat trick - as Manchester City crushed Wolverhampton 5-1 to retain control of the Premier League title race on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's team needed to respond to first-place Arsenal's 3-0 victory over Bournemouth earlier in the day and did so emphatically with another big haul from Haaland.

The Norway striker struck twice from the penalty spot in the first half, either side of a towering header, before adding a fourth with a curling strike.

Substitute Julian Alvarez also got on the scoresheet, while Wolves' consolation came from Hwang Hee-chan.

The victory lifted City, which is chasing an unprecedented fourth straight league crown, back within a point of the Gunners. City has three games left, while Arsenal has two.

Haaland's outstanding display took his tally for the campaign to 36 in all competitions and lifted him to 25 - five clear of his nearest challengers - in the race for the Premier League's Golden Boot award. His hat trick was his ninth in City colors.

For Wolves' players, there was little escape from the onslaught although manager Gary O'Neil may have been relieved his touchline ban kept him hidden from view.

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City's determination was clear from the outset and it came as no surprise that the hosts soon took the lead, although there was debate over the first penalty after 12 minutes.

Josko Gvardiol was shaping to shoot as Rayan Ait-Nouri attempted to clear and the pair collided. The decision could have gone either way but referee Craig Pawson awarded the spot kick and Haaland confidently tucked it away.

Aided by some poor Wolves defending, City could soon have had more as Kevin De Bruyne shot wide and Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa pushed away Haaland's header. Phil Foden dribbled through the area only to lose control at the vital moment.

The inevitable second came in the 35th minute as Rodri won possession, continued his run and exchanged passes with De Bruyne before lofting a cross to the back post, where Haaland rose magnificently to head past Sa.

The Norwegian completed his treble in first-half stoppage time with a second penalty after he was brought down by Nelson Semedo.

This time Pawson was not convinced but pointed to the spot after reviewing the challenge on the pitchside monitor.

Wolves offered little before the break but pulled one back against the run of play after 53 minutes.

City keeper Ederson Moraes, who overcame a shoulder injury to start, palmed a cross from Jean-Ricner Bellegarde into the path of Hwang and the South Korean turned the ball into the net.

Yet any hopes Wolves might have had for a fightback were dispelled immediately and resoundingly by Haaland.

The forward latched onto a long ball from Foden and cut inside to blast a ferocious shot into the far corner from just inside the area.

Haaland almost had a fifth moments later as he forced a fine save from Sa but, after also denying Mateo Kovavic, the goalkeeper was beaten again by Alvarez five minutes from time.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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