Erling Haaland’s late double sent Manchester City top of the Premier League as they beat Everton 2-0 to extend their winning run to 10 games in all competitions.
The striker rifled home the opening goal with City’s first shot on target following a corner in the 71st minute before adding a breakaway second from substitute Kevin De Bruyne’s pass.
Everton had defended doggedly before that, despite Sean Dyche’s absence from the dugout as he served a touchline ban, but City’s quality told as top scorer Haaland found the net in the Premier League for the first time since November, taking his tally to 16.
The victory puts Pep Guardiola’s side a point ahead of Liverpool, who host Burnley in a 3pm kick-off, and ensures Everton, deducted 10 points earlier this season, remain in trouble in 18th place.
How Haaland broke Everton’s resistance
Everton claimed a point in this fixture last season, holding the champions to a 1-1 draw, and they picked up where they left off at the Etihad Stadium with an obstinate first-half performance.
- Man City boss Pep Guardiola dropped Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, with Jeremy Doku and Matheus Nunes starting. Erling Haaland also started.
- Sean Dyche named the same Everton team as in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham but Amadou Onana returned to the squad as a substitute.
City, missing the thrust and quality of the benched De Bruyne, struggled to create any chances of note, with their only meaningful openings coming on the rare occasions Jeremy Doku was able to escape Ben Godfrey and Ashley Young’s attentions on the left.
Haaland headed over from one Doku cross but was otherwise a peripheral figure, with City’s approach play lacking speed and incisiveness against their well-organised opponents.
Everton sought to break forward when possible, causing occasional problems for the hosts, with Jack Harrison firing one half-chance over at the far post. For the most part, though, they were focused on protecting their own goal.
There was a string of Everton blocks in the first period, including one by James Tarkowski from a close-range Manuel Akanji effort which had City optimistically appealing for handball.
And the visitors continued to frustrate City after the break, with Guardiola’s side mostly reduced to speculative long-range efforts as Julian Alvarez and Rodri fired over the bar.
Guardiola leant into City’s formidable strength in depth, however, as the rested De Bruyne and Kyle Walker came on for Matheus Nunes and Akanji, and finally the breakthrough arrived.
It resulted from a set-piece as City’s initial header was blocked and Everton failed to clear their lines, allowing Haaland to smash a first-time shot into the net past Jordan Pickford.
Everton tried to muster a response but substitute Beto wasted their best openings by twice drifting offside and their efforts to find a leveller left more space for City, which they exploited on the break as De Bruyne’s early pass released Haaland for his second.
The big Norwegian outmuscled Jarrad Branthwaite to go one-on-one with Pickford before stroking a calm finish into the far corner to wrap up the win and move two goals clear of Mohamed Salah at the top of the Premier League scoring charts.
City had a chance to add to their lead in the closing stages as De Bruyne’s attempted lob of Pickford landed on the roof of the net. But the win was already assured, adding to City’s momentum and compounding the struggles of their opponents.
Man City are back in Champions League action on Tuesday as they travel to Copenhagen in the round of 16; kick-off 8pm.
They return to Sky Sports next weekend as they host Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday Night Football; kick-off 5.30pm.
Everton’s next game is also live on Sky Sports when they welcome Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Monday Night Football on February 19; kick-off 8pm.
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