Haaland’s goal ended his run of 419 minutes without scoring in the Premier League
Erling Haaland scored his first goals since November to help Manchester City see off a determined Everton side and move top of the Premier League.
The Norwegian has had to wait to find the net since his return from the foot injury that sidelined him for most of December and January, but he made up for lost time here.
His first goal was a brilliant first-time finish that gave his side a crucial breakthrough in the second half, and he made sure of the three points when he ran clear to slot past Jordan Pickford late on.
Until then, Everton’s organisation and resilience had frustrated the defending champions, who had not managed a shot on target until Haaland struck with 19 minutes to go.
The visitors failed to clear a corner and the ball fell for Haaland at the back post to smash home a fierce first-time strike that Jordan Pickford got a hand to, but could not keep out.
Haaland was not done there, and made the most of the space Everton left pushing for an equaliser when he galloped on to Kevin de Bruyne’s through-ball, held off Jarrad Branthwaite and found the bottom corner of the net.
City’s time in top spot may be limited – Liverpool can reclaim their place at the summit later on Saturday when they host Burnley at Anfield – but their return to the head of the table for the first time since 24 November is a reward for their impressive form.
This was their 10th successive win in all competitions, including the Fifa Club World Cup and FA Cup, and their sixth in a row in the Premier League.
Everton, meanwhile, remain stuck in the relegation zone and have now gone seven league games without a win.
Haaland’s wait is over
Haaland’s opening goal was his first for 419 minutes in the Premier League and ended his longest scoreless run in the competition, as well as his longest streak of unsuccessful shots – 17.
He had missed five league games and 10 in all competitions at the turn of the year while recovering from a stress fracture in his foot, but remained top of the scoring charts even before ending his mini-drought.
In his absence, City faltered at first but, since Christmas, they have begun to find their stride even without Haaland’s goals. If he is back in the sort of form that saw him score 36 league goals last season, they will be even harder to stop.
De Bruyne’s return from injury has also been a huge boost and he was the catalyst here after coming off the bench just before the hour mark.
The Belgian upped City’s passing tempo and increased the pressure on Everton’s tiring legs, punishing them at the end with the precise pass for his side’s second goal.
More to follow.
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Squad number2Player nameWalkerSquad number10Player nameGrealishSquad number17Player nameDe BruyneSquad number20Player nameBernardo Silva
Squad number1Player namePickford
Squad number22Player nameGodfrey
Squad number6Player nameTarkowski
Squad number32Player nameBranthwaite
Squad number19Player nameMykolenko
Squad number27Player nameGueye
Squad number37Player nameGarner
Squad number18Player nameYoung
Squad number11Player nameHarrison
Squad number7Player nameMcNeil
Squad number9Player nameCalvert-Lewin
Squad number8Player nameOnana
Squad number14Player nameBeto
Squad number23Player nameColeman
Squad number28Player nameYoussef Chermiti
Squad number61Player nameDobbin
31Ederson5Stones3Rúben Dias6Aké25AkanjiSubstituted forWalkerat 57’minutes16Rodri47Foden27NunesSubstituted forDe Bruyneat 57’minutes19ÁlvarezSubstituted forBernardo Silvaat 77’minutes11DokuSubstituted forGrealishat 87’minutes9HaalandSubstitutes2Walker10Grealish17De Bruyne18Ortega20Bernardo Silva24Gvardiol52Bobb56Wright82Lewis
1Pickford22GodfreySubstituted forColemanat 56’minutes6Tarkowski32Branthwaite19Mykolenko27GueyeBooked at 54minsSubstituted forRamalho Chermitiat 89’minutes37GarnerBooked at 90mins18YoungSubstituted forOnanaat 78’minutes11Harrison7McNeilSubstituted forDobbinat 88’minutes9Calvert-LewinSubstituted forGomes Betuncalat 77’minutesSubstitutes2Patterson5Keane8Onana12Neves Virgínia14Gomes Betuncal23Coleman28Ramalho Chermiti58Hunt61Dobbin
Match ends, Manchester City 2, Everton 0.
Second Half ends, Manchester City 2, Everton 0.
Attempt missed. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Kyle Walker.
Foul by Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City).
Amadou Onana (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
James Garner (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Jack Grealish (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by James Garner (Everton).
Attempt saved. Phil Foden (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jack Grealish.
Rúben Dias (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Youssef Chermiti (Everton).
Offside, Everton. Beto is caught offside.
Offside, Manchester City. Jack Grealish is caught offside.
Substitution, Everton. Youssef Chermiti replaces Idrissa Gueye.
Substitution, Everton. Lewis Dobbin replaces Dwight McNeil.
Substitution, Manchester City. Jack Grealish replaces Jérémy Doku.
Goal! Manchester City 2, Everton 0. Erling Haaland (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne following a fast break.
Offside, Everton. Beto is caught offside.
Erling Haaland (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton).