After the 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 at Leipzig, Pep Guardiola joked that nine strikers would play in the next leg. Who knows, Arling Holland may have laughed at the coach! Maybe you thought, I need 9 people to stay!
Really if there is someone like Holland there is no striker. With Leipzig at home, Holland woke up to the power of 9 strikers alone. Gave the Etihad a night to remember in goal frenzy. He scored 5 goals one by one. He collected his 5th hat-trick of the season before the break. In the 63 minute, ‘Bersik’ coach Pep Guardiola would have broken some more records in the next 30 minutes if he had not been substituted.
Although he scored in match after match in the beginning, he found himself losing his rhythm at times. Then many people put an end to Holland’s name. Many did not even think twice to say ‘temporary-glamour’. Holland should choose tonight’s Champions League match to answer all questions. And what he did on the green carpet of football will be indelible in the pages of history for many days. The other two goals came from Ikei Gundoyan and Kevin De Bruyne in City’s 7-0 win (8-1 on aggregate).
Despite holding City 1-1 in the first leg, the opening game of the first half was one-sided. Leipzig was digesting Man City’s attacks one after another. After 11 minutes, Holland got the ball and got into the Leipzig defense. But the Norwegian striker could not dodge the goalkeeper in the end. Despite not getting a goal, City was sitting on Leipzig. City came close again in the 19th minute and missed the goal.
But unable to keep pace in the face of City’s attack, Henrikhs gave the hosts a penalty by handballing inside the D-box. The Leipzig goalkeeper did not touch the ball despite jumping in the right direction to block Holland’s shot at the spot kick. Holland, who has scored one goal after another this season, doubled the gap just 77 seconds after the first goal. First, Kevin De Bruyne’s bullet shot from outside the D-box bounced off the bar and Holland headed the ball into the net. It was Holland’s 36th goal in all competitions this season.
Leipzig tried to wake up after consecutive goals. However, they could not do much good. On the contrary, the German club managed to score in the 31st minute. Holland could have got a hat-trick if the Leipzig goalkeeper had not stopped. After a while, however, City forgot themselves and scored goals. Apart from trying to create immediate danger on the counter-attack, Leipzig could do little to threaten City in the first half.
On the other hand, Holland completed his hat-trick just before the break. Ruben Diaz almost scored with a powerful header from De Bruyne’s corner. But Diaz’s header was cleared from the goal line by a Leipzig player. Holland pushed the ball towards the net after running. The former Borussia Dortmund star went into the break with a hat trick.
It took City 4 minutes after the break to find their fourth goal. Ikei Gundowan scored with an assist from Jack Grealish. What happened after 53 minutes is historic. Despite being denied for the first time in the jam, Holland got the team’s 5th goal and his own fourth goal by hooking the ball into the net on the return shot. It was Holland’s 38th goal of the season. Before that, Tommy Johnson scored 38 goals for City in the 1928-29 season almost a hundred years ago.
Holland took just 4 minutes to single-handedly claim the record. The striker also scored his 5th goal to send Etihad into a frenzy. Through this, Holland became the third player to score 5 goals in one match in Champions League history. The feat was previously achieved by Lionel Messi for Barcelona against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 and Luiz Adriano for Shakhtar Donetsk against Borisov in 2014.
Guardiola brought down Julián Alvarez and picked up Holland in the 63rd minute. Who knows where he have stopped at the end of 90 minutes if he had not been replaced! Of course, what he did during this period will come back as a nightmare in the sleep of Leipzig players for a long time. De Bruyne also got the goal he deserved at the last minute.
Inter also in the last eight
The ticketsecured the Inter Milan to the last eight despite a goalless draw with FC Porto. Milan won the first leg 1-0 in their own field. Porto couldn’t even try at home in the next leg. Even after going close, I had to return empty handed. In the end, no one scored a goal, and Inter went to the quarter-finals after winning 1-0 in both legs.