Young Boys 1-3 Man City: Player ratings as Haaland braces seals another Champions League win

  • Man City secure European away win at Stadion Wankdorf in Bern
  • Erling Haaland scored twice despite not playing particularly well
  • Pep Guardiola's team are 16 games unbeaten in the Champions League
Man City will return from Switzerland with another three points
Man City will return from Switzerland with another three points / Christian Kaspar-Bartke/GettyImages

Manchester City are on the brink of the Champions League knockout stage after beating Young Boys on Wednesday night in a third successive group win.

Two goals from Erling Haaland, one from the penalty spot, made the difference on an evening that wasn't exactly vintage from the reigning European champions. Manuel Akanji had put City into the lead early in the second half, but Young Boys had hit back through Meschack Elia.

How the game unfolded

Both sides had early chances in a fast start at Stadion Wankdorf, with Ederson beating away a powerful strike from Filip Ugrinic and Rodri going close to putting City ahead at the other end when a low header flashed just wide. Matheus Nunes also poked over from the middle of the box.

From their bright start, Young Boys soon dropped more and more into containment mode as City began to create chance after chance midway through the first half.

Haaland's eyes lit up when he was played in on goal, only for Young Boys goalkeeper Anthony Racioppi to quickly narrow the angle and get the merest of touches to deflect the shot. Jeremy Doku should have scored moments later, seeming to slip as he took aim and giving Racioppi a chance.

Young Boys briefly threatened on the break, before City went agonisingly close when Racioppi fumbled a Jack Grealish shot and Nunes’ scramble towards goal ended up being hooked off the line. Racioppi did much better just before half-time by spectacularly parrying Doku's curling shot from the left, and then saved with his legs when Rodri met the ball on the volley from a corner.

The Swiss resistance was eventually broken from a set-piece only moments after half-time. Racioppi was unfortunate, tipping Ruben Dias' header onto the bar with an acrobatic reflex save, only to see Akanji react quickest to turn the ball into the net on the rebound.

Yet just as it looked as though City would cruise to victory, the hosts immediately struck back. A single pass through the middle beat the defence and Elia had the composure to loft the ball over a stranded Ederson.

The goal emboldened Young Boys, but City's lead was restored with a quarter of the game remaining when Grealish’s jinking run in-field caused panic and Rodri was eventually upended in the box. It was a soft penalty, although not enough that it was likely to be overturned and Haaland made no mistake.

City were denied a clinical third scored by substitute Julian Alvarez when VAR intervened after spotting the ball inadvertently strike Grealish's hand in the build up. A moment of hesitation from the slightly out of sorts Haaland then cost him a goal he probably would have scored last season. But the Norwegian didn't let poor finishing define his evening by smashing the actual third City goal into the top corner with his weaker right foot, by which time the Young Boys defence looked tired.

Man City player ratings (3-2-4-1)

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish asked plenty of questions for Man City / Christian Kaspar-Bartke/GettyImages

GK: Ederson - 6/10 - Made more saves than might have been expected.

CB: Manuel Akanji - 7/10 - In the right place at the right time to put City into the lead. Defensively sound.

CB: Ruben Dias (c) - 7/10 - Played most of the night with game in front of him, which allowed more focus on passing than defending.

CB: Nathan Ake - 7/10 - Alert to danger when Young Boys tried to counter down City's left.

DM: Rico Lewis - 7/10 - Gave a good very account of himself for the most part but arguably culpable for the goal by trying to play offside rather than tracking the goalscorer.

DM: Rodri - 8/10 - Controlled the game from the middle of the pitch and ensured that Young Boys could only really attack on the break.

RM: Jeremy Doku - 6/10 - Forced two good saves out of Racioppi. The first of those was a glorious chance he should have taken. Didn't quite happen for him.

AM: Matheus Nunes - 6/10 - Had a decent first half and was a goal-line clearance away from scoring.

AM: Mateo Kovacic - 5/10 - Didn't seem to do a lot that made an actual difference.

LM: Jack Grealish - 8/10 - Provided a consistent source of creativity, cutting in from the left. Less effective when he briefly switched to the right, but heavily involved overall.

ST: Erling Haaland - 7/10 - Far from his best but still came away with two goals. Frustrated for large parts of the game, yet kept his cool from the penalty spot and also rifled in the third.


SUB: Bernardo Silva (72' for Doku) - 7/10

SUB: Julian Alvarez (72' for Nunes) - 7/10

SUB: Sergio Gomez (90' for Haaland) - N/A

SUB: Kalvin Phillips (90' for Rodri) - N/A

Subs not used: Ortega (GK), Carson (GK), Walker, Gvardiol, Stones, Hamilton, Foden, Bobb


Pep Guardiola - 7/10 - This was a night when City weren't at their slick best but he was able to make changes in the second half that kept his team on the front foot rather than defending the lead.

Player of the match - Jack Grealish (Man City)