Young Boys 1-3 Man City: Erling Haaland nets brace in all-too familiar Champions League win for holders

Erling Haaland was on target for Man City in Bern (Getty Images)
Erling Haaland was on target for Man City in Bern (Getty Images)

Manchester City made it three wins from three in uniform fashion against Young Boys to stay top of their Champions League group.

First it was Red Star Belgrade who cause the defending champions a worry, in what turned into a relatively comfortable 3-1 win. Then City overcame a bumpy ride away to RB Leipzig courtesy of two late goals for a relatively comfortable 3-1 win.

In Switzerland on Wednesday, three second-half goals overcome a worry against Young Boys to seal a... well, you know the rest.

The tone was set inside the first minute when Filip Ugrinic burst into the box and stung Ederson's palms with a powerful effort, before City forged their first opening moments later with a Rodri directing a header wide of goal from a corner.

With seven changes made by the visitors, the likes of Jack Grealish had to make a statement to earn a spot in Sunday's Manchester derby and the England winger was their chief creative force.

Running the rule over his marker on the left flank, he cut inside to find Matheus Nunes with freedom to shoot on seven minutes, only for his teammate to place his shot over the bar.

Pre-game fears over the artificial pitch, which on the night was greased up by the unrelenting alpine rain, did not cramp City's style too much but may have been behind Jeremy Doku's slip from a superb shooting position as his double-kick saw the ball pop up for a straightforward parry by Anthony Racioppi.

The pressure ramped up throughout a first half dominated by City, who boasted three-quarters of possession, and were only denied by a desperate hook off the line when goalkeeper Racioppi fumbled the ball onto Nunes for what would have been a rather fortuitous opener.

Yet, Young Boys made themselves known on the break and swift moves up the pitch put first Cedric Itten and second Sandro Lauper in great positions to spark an upset, only to get cold feet in the brisk wind and fluff their lines.

City made the breakthrough mere minutes into the second half, Manuel Akanji hitting the woodwork from one corner before Ruben Dias forced a smart save onto the crossbar from the next - with Akanji primed and ready to turn home the rebound on this occasion.

The goal gave a sense that this night was turning into a comfortable one for the defending champions, yet that proved false when Young Boys levelled up three minutes later.

A slick ball in behind caught Rico Lewis playing an offside trap milliseconds too late and Meschak Elia lifted an audacious chip over Ederson to send the Stadion Wankdorf into ecstasy.

With well over half an hour to play, Young Boys faced a monumental task to hold onto a point and indeed City were back ahead via the penalty spot on 67 minutes.

Grealish shimmied past three challenges to shoot into a crowded box and Rodri got the first toe to the deflection, just as a slight challenge felled him in the box. Referee Morten Krogh deemed it worthy of a penalty to allow Erling Haaland the chance to net his first Champions League goal of the season, which he squeezed past Racioppi for 2-1.

Julian Alvarez thought he had made it three off the bench following some slick combination play with Haaland, only for a VAR check to spot a handball by Grealish in the build-up and cancel his goal.

Any sense of City paying for that decision was dealt with by Haaland's second, the Norwegian shifting the ball onto his right foot and whipping it into the top corner to ensure there was no nervy finish to what was still another bumpy ride in this group stage.