Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates a goal with Kevin De Bruyne in the FA Cup 5th round match against Luton Town on February 27, 2024

Manchester City’s Erling Braut Haaland celebrates a goal with Kevin De Bruyne in the FA Cup 5th round match against Luton Town on February 27, 2024
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Erling Haaland roared back to his best form with a five-goal salvo as Manchester City thumped Luton Town 6-2 at Kenilworth Road to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Tuesday.

Luton had no answer to the marauding Norwegian who bagged his eighth City hat-trick before halftime and then scored twice more after the break to kill off a stirring Luton revival.

The 23-year-old Haaland’s first four goals were all created by Kevin De Bruyne. Mateo Kovacic also got on the scoresheet for holders City who are unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions.

Luton did threaten an unlikely comeback when Jordan Clark found the top corner with a sublime effort on the stroke of halftime and netted again early in the second half to make it 3-2. But a strong City side instantly found another gear to cruise into the hat for the last eight.

First since George Best

Haaland became the first top-flight player to score five goals in an FA Cup tie since George Best struck six for Manchester United against Northampton Town in 1970.

The only blemish for City, who face Manchester United in the Premier league on Sunday, was an injury to Jack Grealish who was forced off in the opening period.

Haaland had scored only five goals in his previous 11 appearances for City — a spell interrupted by a foot injury that some suggested had taken the edge off his game.

But he answered any doubters in emphatic fashion with a sensational display of centre forward play.

De Bruyne genius

City meant business from the start and went ahead in the fourth minute as Matheus Nunes played in De Bruyne who cut back a perfect pass for Haaland to fire past Tim Krul.

De Bruyne played Haaland through in the 18th minute to make it 2-0 and Haaland’s hat-trick goal was almost a carbon copy as he again surged on to a De Bruyne pass to dink a shot over Krul.

Clark gave the home fans some cheer when he curled a perfect shot past Stefan Ortega and Luton punished City for some slack defending just after the restart with Clark finishing well.

But Haaland tapped in a De Bruyne pass a couple of minutes later and then grabbed his fifth from Bernardo Silva’s assist before being substituted, much to Luton’s relief.

Second-tier leaders Leicester City joined Pep Guardiola’s side in the quarter-finals as they beat Premier League Bournemouth 1-0.



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