Erling Haaland's double leads Man City to sixth straight victory in Premier League

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MANCHESTER, England — Erling Haaland scored his first goals since returning to Manchester City’s team after injury to lead the champions to a 2-0 win over Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Norway striker finally broke Everton’s obdurate resistance when he latched onto a loose ball in the area and smashed home a fierce right-foot shot in the 71st minute.

Haaland added a second in an 85th-minute counterattack by running onto substitute Kevin De Bruyne’s pass, shrugging off Jarrad Branthwaite and slotting home a low finish.

It was Haaland’s second start — and third appearance — since coming back after nearly two months out with a foot injury, with the double making him the outright top scorer in the league with 16 goals. That’s two more than Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

City started the game two points behind league leader Liverpool, which was hosting Burnley later Saturday.

City’s sixth straight league win, and 10th in a row in all competitions, was hard to come by, with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford well protected by his defence and not having a shot to save in the first half.

The introduction of De Bruyne off the bench in the 57th minute added some urgency to City’s play, though the important first goal was hardly a classic.

Ruben Dias got his head on Julian Alvarez’s corner and the ball first hit Everton defender James Tarkowski and then Branthwaite, whose attempted clearance flew across to Haaland. The striker’s first-time shot flew past the unsighted Pickford.

Everton had been sitting back and soaking up pressure until then, so had to change its approach and attack. That played into City’s hands, with the second goal coming with the visitors having plenty of players upfield.

City switches focus to its defense of the Champions League in midweek with a visit to FC Copenhagen for a first-leg match in the round of 16 on Tuesday.

Everton, hit by a 10-point deduction for financial mismanagement midway through this season, stayed in the relegation zone in third-to-last place.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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