A stunning second successive hat-trick from Erling Haaland was the highlight as Manchester City turned on the style at the Etihad Stadium with a 6-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest.
This was the first meeting between the two sides in 13 years, and the visitors knew early on just how much of a test this match would prove to be.
Just like that, Steve Cooper’s side were behind after 12 minutes. Haaland got ahead of his marker to meet Phil Foden’s cross at the near post and the Norwegian tapped home beyond Dean Henderson with a good finish. He then had his second of the night just 10 minutes later, another easy tap-in from close range inside the six-yard box to put City firmly in control.
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The 22-year-old then sealed a stunning 26-minute hat-trick shortly before half time with a close-range header to score his second consecutive treble for his club and put the game beyond Forest.
City weren’t done there as Joao Cancelo got in on the act five minutes into the second half with a superb long-range strike into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Julian Alvarez added a fifth for City in the 65th minute, latching onto a brilliant through pass by Riyad Mahrez to finish well into the bottom corner from a tight angle to mark his first league start with a goal.
The Argentine then had his brace three minutes from time with a superb strike into the top corner to cap off a special night under the lights for the City fans.
TALKING POINT - Nottingham Forest dealt harsh reality
If Nottingham Forest did not know how tough the Premier League was going to be this season, they do now. Steve Cooper's side were dealt a harsh lesson tonight, against a team who showed their clinical nature in front of goal. In the first half alone, City had 77% possession.
It was clear that Forest's game plan was to sit back and frustrate City, but it lasted just 12 minutes, as the home side showed just how slick they were on the ball. With City's recent setback against Newcastle, Pep Guardiola's side have bounced back in emphatic fashion, scoring 10 goals in their last two league games.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Erling Haaland
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What else is there to say about this man? Two hat-tricks for City in successive Premier League matches has taken his league goal tally for his new club up to nine already, and we are still in August!
All of his finishes once again showed how lethal he is inside the six-yard box, with three of his four shots during the match resulting in goals. In total, Haaland also won one successful tackle as well as an aerial duel. If he stays fit, the 22-year-old could break the 30-goal barrier for City in the league this season.
Manchester City: Ederson 6, Cancelo 7, Walker 6, Stones 7, Dias 6, Gundogan 7, Rodri 6, Silva 7, Foden 7, Haaland 9, Alvarez 8. Subs: Palmer 6, Mahrez 6, De Bruyne 6, Gomez 6, Lewis 6.
Nottingam Forest: Henderson 7, Lodi 6, McKenna 7, Kouyate 6, Worrall 6, Williams 8, O'Brien 6, Freuler 6, Yates 6, Gibbs-White 6, Johnson 5. Subs: Colback 6, Toffolo 6, Awoniyi 6, Dennis 5, Biancone 6.
12’ - GOAL! (Erling Haaland) - Haaland scores again for City! Gundogan plays a corner from the left short to Foden, and the midfielder crosses it towards the near post for Haaland. Despite the cross getting a deflection off O'Brien, the Norwegian gets ahead of his marker to poke the ball home from close range!
23’ - GOAL! (Erling Haaland) - Initially, Henderson gives the ball straight to Silva from a goal-kick and the hosts capitalise. Foden is stopped in his tracks to his left after dribbling straight towards goal, but the loose ball finds Haaland, who is there to tuck away an easy goal with a tap-in!
38’ - GOAL! (Erling Haaland) - Unbelievable! Cancelo whips in a beautiful towards the back post with the outside of his foot, which Foden flicks on back across goal with his head. Stones then flicks it back again towards the path of Haaland to his left, and the forward heads the ball in from a couple of yards to seal his second consecutive hat-trick for City in as many games!
43’ - OFF THE POST! - City should have four! Alvarez tries to bend one towards the near post from the edge of the 18-yard box after a good City move, but his shot cannons back off the foot of the post and goes behind!
50’ - GOAL! (Joao Cancelo) - Cancelo gets in on the act! What a strike from the full-back! The home side work it well down the right near the edge of the box with Silva, before he cuts it back across the edge of the area for Cancelo. He takes a couple of touches before lacing one right into the top corner! Superb strike and scintillating football.
65’ - GOAL! (Julian Alvarez) - It is five for Manchester City! Mahrez does brilliant work to head down a ball from Walker, before the winger plays in Alvarez in behind with a sublime through ball, and Alvarez finishes well from inside the area into the bottom corner from a tight angle!
87’ - GOAL! (Julian Alvarez) - Alvarez has his brace! City break all from a Forest free-kick, which is launched into the wall. De Bruyne picks up the ball in midfield and drives forward, before teeing up Alvarez, and the forward lashes in a great strike into the top corner!
- Erling Haaland (5 apps) has now matched Harry Kane (26 apps) for goals scored in the month of August in the Premier League (8).
- Renan Lodi became the 55th different player to appear for Nottingham Forest in all competitions since the start of last season, which is more than any other club in England's top four tiers.
- Manchester City have scored 5+ goals in a Premier League game for the 32nd time under Pep Guardiola, which accounts for 14% of their games under the Spaniard (32/233). It’s more than twice as many such games as any other side since he joined (Liverpool, 15).
- Erling Haaland is the first player to score back-to-back hat tricks in the Premier League since Harry Kane in December 2017.
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