Sevilla – Manchester City 0-4: Erling Haaland scores a brace and gets his 12th of the season

In-form hitman Erling Haaland scored his first Champions League goal for Manchester City as the visitors beat Sevilla 4-0.

Pep Guardiola always puts a lot of weight on the first two games of the Champions League group, whoever the opponent is. Beat them and the rest is relatively serene.

That attitude has served them well throughout their time, never failing to reach the round of 16. Problems are saved for a little later in the competition.

So while this looked like a breeze from the get-go, Manchester City left nothing to chance and perhaps offered a glimpse of what Guardiola considers his best attacking cohort for the big games ahead. The trio worked.

In-form hitman Erling Haaland scored his first Champions League goal for Manchester City as the visitors beat Sevilla 4-0.

We will get to Erling Haaland. He scored another couple, obviously. The evening belonged to him again. But the two Englishmen on either side, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, also came away with major credit.

Both were exceptional as full-backs, ably supported by traditional full-backs. City – which took all the heat out of an area affectionately known as the frying pan of Spain – were more symmetrical. Softer, if possible.

Guardiola admitted after the weekend’s draw at Aston Villa that he had missed out on Grealish and had evidence of that when they beat Sevilla. More control in possession for starters, crucial when encounters like this last far longer than they should.

Enter Haaland. The sky might fall when he finally leaves a ground without at least one to his name. Two more for the collection – now 12 in seven games for City – which takes him to 25 in the Champions League.

It was all smiles for Phil Foden and Joao Cancelo as Man City got their Champions League campaign off to the perfect start.

It was all smiles for Phil Foden and Joao Cancelo as Man City got their Champions League campaign off to the perfect start.

The Premier League champions masterfully dispatched the struggling LaLiga side to top Group G

The Premier League champions masterfully dispatched the struggling LaLiga side to top Group G

They have come in 20 appearances. No one, not record holder Cristiano Ronaldo, not Lionel Messi, has ever posted those numbers. No wonder the local papers had headlines “El Coco” – loosely translated as The Bogeyman – and “a monster is coming to see you”.

Guardiola spoke glowingly of Sevilla on the eve, saying he would “love” to have their history in European competition given the four Europa League trophies on the books since 2014. City’s only piece of silverware he arrived on the continent 52 years ago. la Recopa, although their progression to the first club competition during the Catalan’s tenure has been encouraging.

Despite their pedigree, Sevilla’s start to the season has been less than impressive, with three defeats and a draw leaving them in the La Liga relegation zone and Julen Lopetegui fearing for their long-term prospects.

England winger Foden doubled Manchester City's lead in the second half with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner.

England winger Foden doubled Manchester City’s lead in the second half with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner.

Lacking confidence, they were never going to press City aggressively in the way their team bus did earlier in the night – arriving just outside the atmospheric Ramon Sánchez-Pizjuan Stadium within seconds after your visitors. Some of Guardiola’s squad hadn’t even stepped off the coach when Sevilla landed, the crowd not sure whether to applaud or jeer. In the end, they didn’t do it gladly.

Inside it was a little different. This old place becomes like few, hostile with bite after the passionate rendition of the club’s national anthem. Sevilla were lifted by this, briefly forcing City debutants Manuel Akanji and Sergio Gómez into difficult areas, but left begging for some form of mercy in the 20th minute. By the time of the opener, this was already looking like the attack against the defense. After a real schooling, Lopetegui’s team endured a ruckus and handkerchiefs at full time.

Haaland went through again and the scariest thing about his first was the telepathy he flashed so quickly with Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian raced onto Foden’s delicate pass, perfectly weighted beyond the defence, glanced into the six-yard box and landed a leaping limb, Haaland’s left leg. The goal was so simplistic yet almost impossible to stop, so easy yet so clever.

Center Rubén Dias scored a last-gasp fourth goal for Pep Guardiola's side in added time to cap off a superb performance.

Center Rubén Dias scored a last-gasp fourth goal for Pep Guardiola’s side in added time to cap off a superb performance.

The Norwegian superstar scored his 12th goal of the season in all competitions following his £51m summer move to the Etihad.

The Norwegian superstar scored his 12th goal of the season in all competitions following his £51m summer move to the Etihad.

Foden had earlier appealed for a penalty when Marcos Acuna sent off, while Haaland headed another De Bruyne cross wide. If Guardiola had any complaints, it was that they weren’t winning more, because Sevilla had withdrawn to such an extent that holding the ball in any kind of dangerous area was too much to ask. Their best chance came when Alejandro Gómez cut off Isco’s rout.

It mattered little, but De Bruyne was guilty of missing a great chance when Haaland was set free as the pair picked Sevilla’s pocket and broke the tempo. De Bruyne brought down Yassine Bounou, ready to slide in the corner, only for the keeper to pounce on goal.

The equalizer came a couple of minutes before the hour mark, though. With the same patience as with the first, Foden collected Joao Cancelo’s cross and turned to the right moment about 15 yards out. Glancing at Bounou, Foden veered towards the far corner.

A third for good measure, another for Haaland – clean up as Bounou saved Foden’s ball. A cork merchant, this guy. And then Rubén Dias had one of his own in stoppage time, which added brilliance when he found Cancelo’s cross.

Sportsmail’s Ben Willcocks has provided live blog updates for Sevilla v Manchester City as the Champions League campaign gets underway.

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