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Haaland Scores Brace As Man City Beat Yokohama 5-3 in Pre-Season Friendly

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Erling Haaland scores double as Manchester City recover from two goals behind to beat Yokohama 5-3 in first game of their pre-season campaign in Tokyo.

On the first anniversary of his goalscoring debut for City, 2022/23 Premier League top scorer Haaland found the net seven minutes after his introduction at halftime, turning sharply inside the penalty area and firing precisely into the far corner of the net to give City the lead for the first time at the National Stadium.

City had fallen behind when Brazilian Anderson Lopes, who mimicked Haaland’s meditation-themed celebration after his goal, converted clinically after his initial shot was palmed back into the path of his run by goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

Midway through their season in Japanese top flight J1 League, Yokohama showed why they had beaten Scottish side Celtic 6-4 on Wednesday when Ken Matsubara completed a slick break with a cool first-time finish to double their lead.

Two quickfire replies before the interval — the first by Julian Alvarez after a mistake by home goalkeeper Jun Ichimori, the other the pick of the first-half goals by John Stones — drew City level, while Nathan Ake’s header hit the crossbar in between.

City raised the tempo and dominated the flow of chances after manager Pep Guardiola changed his entire outfield team at halftime, Rodri’s effort from distance to make it 4-2 reminiscent of the technique and composure he showed to score the winner in the UEFA Champions League final in June.

Midfielder Kenta Inoue capitalised on a mix-up between Ortega and defender Rico Lewis to pull a goal back for Yokohama on his 24th birthday, but Haaland tapped in Joao Cancelo’s inviting cross in added time as Guardiola left Kevin De Bruyne on the bench while the midfielder continues his recovery from a hamstring issue.

Riyad Mahrez, who is widely reported to be on the brink of a move to Saudi Pro League team Al-Ahli, is not part of City’s squad on their Asia Tour but Kyle Walker was named as as captain amid speculation that the long-serving defender is bound for Bayern Munich.

City will proceed to matches against Bayern — Haaland’s opponents in that first game for City a year ago — in the same setting on Wednesday and Atletico Madrid in Seoul on July 30. The Premier League holders play Arsenal in the FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on August 6, then start their league season at Burnley five days later.

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