FA Cup English

On-fire Haaland hammers five home as Man City thrash Luton in FA cup

Erling Haaland silenced all doubters as he most convincingly roared back to his best goalscoring best with a scintillating five-goal salvo as Manchester City resoundingly thrashed Luton Town 6-2 at Kenilworth Road to reach the quarterfinals of the FA Cup on Tuesday.

Luton were absolutely stunned into silence when facing the grim determination of the marauding Norwegian who effortlessly bagged his eighth City hat-trick before halftime and then slammed in two more after the break to snuff out a stirring Luton revival.

Haaland’s first four goals were all brilliantly aided by Kevin De Bruyne. Mateo Kovacic also ended up on the scoresheet for holders City who are now unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions.

Jordan Clark seemed to have sparked off an unlikely Luton comeback threat when he found the top corner with a sublime effort on the stroke of halftime and netted again early in the second half. But a strong City side instantly cranked up another gear to cruise into the last eight for the spoils.

It was clearly undeniable that the night belonged to the unstoppable Haaland as he 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.

“Kevin De Bruyne is massive. He is doing what he is best at. It’s a pleasure playing with him,” Haaland, whose hat-trick was his first for City away from home, told ITV.

“We know what we both want from each other. It clicks well. I am getting back to my best. Finally I am feeling good. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s coming, we’re coming. Exciting times ahead. We are ready to attack.”

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 before halftime with a recurrence of a groin injury.

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. Xx But he blew away any doubts in emphatic fashion with a sensational display of centre forward play.

“Erling was on fire and Kevin was perfect,” was Guardiola’s verdict. “The connection they have. Erling needs a player like Kevin and Kevin needs a player like Erling.”

City signaled their serious intent from the get-go and went blitzed 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 then played Haaland through in the 18th minute to make it 2-0 and Haaland’s hat-trick goal materialized when he surged on to a De Bruyne pass before deftly dinking a shot over Krul.

The home fans finally found some solace when Clark curled a perfect shot past Stefan Ortega and Luton punished City for some slack defending just after the restart with Clark finishing well.

However, intent on showing he still had business with the home side, Haaland artfully 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 the relief of Luton’s mind-boggled fans.