Haaland shines for Man City, United loses under Ten Hag

LONDON – Erik ten Hag has called for time after starting his tenure at Manchester United with a disappointing defeat. Erling Haaland didn’t take long to show the impact he will have at Manchester City.

Manchester’s two biggest off-season signings had wildly different starts to the Premier League season on Sunday.

Ten Hag looked grim on the touchline as the Netherlands manager watched United lose 2-1 to Brighton at Old Trafford, with his side being overplayed in the first half before a second-half rally fell short.

Haaland scored twice to lead Man City to a 2-0 win at West Ham, scoring from the penalty spot in the first half and adding a clinical finish in the second half.

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Ten Hag has been signed by United to close the gap on his Crosstown rivals after finishing 35 points behind champions Man City in the league last season.

If anything, the gap seems to have only gotten bigger – thanks largely to Haaland.

The Norway striker was brought in by City to provide a clear focus for the team’s attack as Pep Guardiola played without a recognized striker for much of last season. And the outstanding Norwegian striker will add another dimension to a side who were top scorers last season with 99 goals.

United fans, meanwhile, are still waiting to see the impact Ten Hag will have after a disheartening performance against Brighton that showed many of the team’s old weaknesses are still alive.

“Definitely a setback, a real disappointment,” said Ten Hag. “I knew from the start that it wasn’t going to be easy. And it’s a process, it takes time. But you don’t have time, we have to win games. We should have done better.”

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Pascal Gross scored twice in the first half to put Brighton under control and United looked toothless and unimaginative until Cristiano Ronaldo came on at the start of the second half. As Ronaldo sparked the attack, United pulled back through an Alexis Mac Allister own goal after goalkeeper Robert Sanchez failed to chip away a corner.

United’s players were booed off the field by home fans after a performance that dispelled any notion that Ten Hag could offer an immediate solution to the many problems that had plagued the team last season.

If there was an issue City needed to fix, Haaland seems to have the answer.

Haaland showed his speed to elude two defenders when he ran into the box on a pass from Ilkay Gundogan and was brought down by goalkeeper Alphonse Areola as they were vying for the ball.

He calmly completed the penalty in the 36th minute with a lateral foot into the left corner and then sat cross-legged in a meditative pose – his trademark goal celebration that could become a common sight in the Premier League.

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The second goal came in the 65th when the Norwegian perfectly timed his run to meet a through ball from Kevin de Bruyne and then used his left foot to put the ball into the far post.

After Liverpool drew against Fulham on Saturday, City sent an early warning that they remain the team to beat in England. And with Haaland in front, it will be even more difficult to wrest the title from Guardiola’s team.

BRENTFORD RALLIES

Brentford came from two goals behind in a 2-2 draw at Leicester after substitute Josh Dasilva equalized with a curling shot in the 86th minute.

Leicester had dominated for much of the game, going 2-0 up in each half after goals from Timothy Castagne and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall before Ivan Toney pulled one back in the 62nd minute.

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And in the closing stages, Dasilva leveled with a shot from the edge of the box after cutting in with his left foot.

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