By Victor Kanayo
English Premier League (EPL) defending Champions Manchester City began their title defence with a 3-0 bashing of newly promoted Burnley.
The match decided on Friday night saw Erling Haaland picking up from his last season’s goal-scoring form to hit brace.
The remaining goal came from Rodri who completed the rout with a goal of his own in the 75th minute.
Super Charged Manchester City
It took only 185 seconds for the Citizens to open their account for the new campaign when the Norwegian struck a blow from which the newly promoted Clarets never recovered.
Haaland pounced in the area when Rodri headed down Kevin de Bruyne’s cross, then curled in a magnificent left-foot strike into the top corner beyond Burnley keeper James Trafford after 36 minutes to effectively end the contest.
Burnley, roared on by a passionate home crowd, never gave up but City’s control grew more emphatic as the game went on, Rodri turning home the third with 15 minutes left after the home defence failed to clear a free-kick.
It all ended very comfortably for City, their night only marred by another injury for De Bruyne, who limped off after only 23 minutes to be replaced by summer signing Mateo Kovacic.
Burnley had Anass Zaroury sent off in injury time, after a video assistant referee review, for a dangerous lunge on Kyle Walker.
Awoniyi! Misses Season Opener
Meanwhile Nigeria’s Super Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi is mostly not going to play any role when Nottingham Forest confront another EPL giant Arsenal.
Forest’s head coach, Steve Cooper, confirmed this setback during the pre-match press conference for the highly anticipated clash that marks the commencement of the 2023/2024 English Premier League season.
Cooper delivered the update on the team’s available players, revealing that while Felipe’s presence is assured, Awoniyi and Moussa are on the mend and inching their way back to training.