Man City thrash Bayern 3-0 as Haaland reaches another milestone
Rodri struck a wonder goal and Erling Haaland set another scoring record as Manchester City beat Bayern Munich 3-0 on Tuesday to continue their quest for a first-ever Champions League title in their quarter-final first leg.
Haaland, who scored City's third goal of the night in the 76th minute, has 45 goals in all competitions, a single-season record for a Premier League player, moving ahead of Mo Salah and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Rodri put Pep Guardiola's team ahead in the 27th minute, cutting the ball back to beat midfielder Jamal Musiala and curling a blistering long-range shot into the top left corner beyond the outstretched hand of Yann Sommer.
"I know that this Bayern team is special," said Guardiola, who managed Bayern from 2013-16. "We got a good result, but we need two strong games. Anything can happen at Allianz Arena. I know that because I was at Bayern for three years."
Rodri celebrated with a long knee slide on the rain-soaked turf at the Etihad, while Bayern's new manager Thomas Tuchel threw up his hands in disgust en route to his team's biggest defeat in the Champions League since a 3-0 loss to Paris St Germain in 2017.
"It was very special for me to score my first goal in the Champions League. At that moment we were struggling because they are a great, great team," Rodri told BT Sport.
"Sometimes we understand we cannot have 80% possession. They play too. We scored three and could score four but it is a great result."
What had been an evenly matched game turned thoroughly in City's favour midway through the second half, and Bernardo Silva scored their second in the 70th minute, heading in a cross from Haaland. The Norwegian got a goal of his own six minutes later, striking from close range.
"This never happens to Bayern Munich but credit to Manchester City, they were brilliant in both boxes," former Bayern player Owen Hargreaves said on BT Sport. "Pep had a game plan and it worked beautifully."
Sommer had a busy night and was pressed into action early, almost gifting Haaland a goal in the 14th minute. Taking too long to clear the ball, the striker bulldozed in and got his foot on the ball two yards from the net, but it flew wide.
City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan had a brilliant chance in the 34th minute, but Sommer, who was on the ground, stuck a leg out to save what looked like a certain goal.
Ruben Dias's flick in the second half looked bound for the net, but Sommer tipped it over the crossbar. However, he was helpless to stop Silva and then Haaland from completing the win.
Guardiola faced a familiar foe in Tuchel, who was Chelsea manager when they triumphed over City in the final in 2021.
The Spaniard has won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and four League Cups at City but European success has eluded the manager who won the trophy twice when in charge of Barcelona.
His confidence will be high that he can end that drought ahead of the second leg, which takes place on April 19 at Munich's Allianz Arena.
"We don't think it is done. They are a good team and we are happy with the performance but we will have to try to win the game," Rodri added.
Inter's second-half double at Benfica puts them on course for semis
Inter Milan struck in the second half through Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku for a 2-0 win at Benfica in their Champions League quarter-final, first leg on Tuesday which put them on course for a first last-four appearance since they won the trophy in 2010.
Barella headed home firmly at the back post in the 51st minute, rising unchallenged to get on the end of a superb cross from centre back Alessandro Bastoni, who was storming up the left side and delivered a pin-point ball.
Substitute Lukaku then converted an 82nd minute penalty after VAR referred a handball by Benfica skipper Joao Mario for review by English referee Michael Oliver, who gave the spot kick after looking at the video monitor.
The two goals hand Inter a major advantage for the return leg at San Siro next Wednesday, where they will be heavily fancied to progress to an all-Italian semi-final against either neighbours AC Milan or Napoli who meet this Wednesday.
Barella’s goal exposed Benfica’s nervy defence but the penalty was unfortunate as a Denzel Dumfries cross hit Joao Mario on his head and then his upright arm inside the box.
But Inter deserved their victory, conjuring up the better chances with Benfica’s Odysseas Vlachodimos making important second-half saves to deny Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Dumfries and avert an even heavier defeat.
“One of the best matches of this season. We deserved to win, we played very well. We have taken the first step, we hope to do everything to advance,” Mkhitaryan told reporters.
Inter, who beat Benfica’s domestic rivals Porto in the previous round with a stoic defensive performance away in the second leg, were surprisingly adventurous at the start on their return to Portugal and dominated the early skirmishes.
But it was Benfica’s dangerous playmaker Rafa Silva who conjured up the first effort on target, firing straight at Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana after picking up a botched clearance by Federico Dimarco in the 16th minute.
Soon after, Joao Mario’s tempting cross flashed across the face of goal before Inter had their first effort - a powerful long-range shot by Francesco Acerbi that swerved dangerously close to the Benfica goal.
The hosts might have equalised five minutes after Barella scored but Dumfries got in the way during a goalmouth melee as Benfica’s strikers looked to sweep home a cross from Joao Mario that caused chaos.
Lukaku's precise penalty put Inter firmly in the driving seat before Onana made a vital stop on the final whistle to deny Goncalo Ramos a goal that would have given Benfica hope.
Benfica midfielder Chiquinho said: "We knew it was going to be a difficult game, against a quality team. But nothing is lost. We are going to Milan to turn the result around."