Srinagar: Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland shattered the Premier League single-season goal scoring record as Manchester City continue their winning march by defeating West Ham 3-0 to move back to the top of the table with a 3-0 win over West Ham.
Visitors made it difficult for the reigning champions at the Etihad Stadium. It was goalless at half-time. But Nathan Ake headed City in front early in the second before Haaland had his moment, chipping Lukasz Fabianski for his 35th of the season.
The goal moved Haaland clear of Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole as the first man to hit that mark in the Premier League era – with five games to spare too. Substitute Phil Foden made the win even more emphatic when his deflected strike made it three late in the game. It 1000th goal for City under coach Pep Guardiola.
This win moves Manchester City a step closer, restoring their one-point lead at the top with a game in hand. For West Ham, a third consecutive defeat means there is work still to do to guarantee their safety. There will be easier nights than this to claim the points they need.
Asked if the record was on his mind, Haaland told Sky Sports: “Yes, of course I knew about it but we tried to create the chances to score goals and it was not easy. They came here just to defend for 90 minutes and we struggled a bit in the first half but it was an important win.”
On the goal, he added: “You can see what my first thought is – to run towards the goal. Me and Jack spoke before the game – he wanted to give me the assist for the record-breaking goal. I knew I was going to get the ball there and I saw the keeper coming out.
“It was a great ball by Jack. When I chipped the ball it was a really perfect bounce. I didn’t think I was going to chip but the possibility was there.
“It was a nice feeling, like every single goal I score. Winning the game is also really important. The guard of honour really hurt – they hit me hard on the back!”
Speaking in the press conference after the game, Guardiola acknowledged that the guard of honour for Haaland from his team-mates had been planned beforehand.
“Of course, we thought about that. In football, when there is a special occasion, we have to show how special it is. Today, it was Erling. To score more than Alan Shearer and Andy Cole, top strikers, it is special.
“I think he deserves it. All the team deserves it because without the team he could not do it, but he is a special striker. We are very pleased for him because it is a joy to be with him, to work with him, to manage him. We are happy to have him with us.