Haaland scores twice before being subbed at half-time
Own goal, Mahrez penalty and Alvarez strike complete scoring
Grealish impresses and named player of the match
Pep Guardiola watched Erling Haaland score another two goals before half time against Copenhagen and then moved as swiftly as the new superstar of English football to deny there is a release clause that will cut short his stay at Manchester City.
It has only taken 19 goals in 12 games for the first rumours to be whispered suggesting the brilliant young Norwegian could leave for Real Madrid because of an exit clause in the contract he signed this summer.
As English football hails the arrival of this unstoppable force and tries to come to terms with the records he is going to smash, the Spanish media had stories claiming he will be heading there next with Real Madrid to make it sooner than anyone expected.
“It’s not true,” insisted Pep Guardiola. “He doesn’t have a release clause for Real Madrid or any other team. It's not true is all I can say.
“It does not annoy me, absolutely not. Rumours, people talk, we cannot control it. We can only be worried about what we can control.
“What's important is that he adapted really well. I have the feeling he is incredibly happy here and we will try with him - and all of them, people who want to stay here - to make them happy.
“This is the most important. In the end, what's going to happen in the future, who knows it? Nobody knows. What's important is he is happy, he is settled perfectly, he is incredibly beloved by everyone and that's the most important thing.”
Maybe it is jealousy, more bitterness that the financial might of the Premier League has lured another of the world’s most coveted players but the claims in Spain are almost as ridiculous as the Norwegian’s statistics since his £51m arrival from Borussia Dortmund.
There is no doubt that both Real Madrid, and their fellow European Super League campaigners Barcelona, would like to sign Haaland. And it may well be true that there is a release clause that becomes active somewhere down the line, in the summer of 2024 perhaps but Guardiola is not concerned and neither is anyone at City.
City will try to negotiate before then to have it removed and it is barely relevant to the here and now but that will not stop people trying to stir things up.
Surely Haaland must be viewed as the world's best striker, but ominously for their rivals, it is City who have him. They look more powerful than ever as a result.
“It's unbelievable honestly” said his teammate Jack Grealish. “I've never witnessed anything like it in my life. For the first and second goals I was just laughing. The keeper said something to me as I was walking back. He said 'he's not human!' I said 'you're telling me?' Hopefully he can carry on this form and take us to glory."
It took Haaland just six minutes and 50 seconds to notch goal number 18, as he pulled into a yard of space inside the area, where he was spotted by Joao Cancelo. The City fans were celebrating the moment the ball left Haaland’s right boot. Haaland almost had a second 20 minutes later, a thunderbolt superbly saved by Grabara.
The former Liverpool Academy prospect made another brilliant one-handed save to tip Jack Grealish’s effort over the bar, but when he managed to block Sergio Gomez’s low drive, the ball ricocheted kindly to the lurking Haaland and he tucked in the rebound.
He barely celebrated. Maybe the joy of scoring goals is dimmed when you are able to do it so regularly and Haaland is as close to unstoppable as you are likely to see on a football pitch at the moment.
City made it three before the interval with the sort of good fortune they do not need as Sergio Gomez’s low shot, spun off the legs of Denis Varo, into the shins of David Khocholava and into the Copenhagen net.
Pep Guardiola showed clemency, withdrawing Haaland at half time, depriving him of a fourth hat-trick of the season. There was no injury, it was purely a tactical decision.
Haaland has scored 28 goals in 22 Champions League appearances, which equates to a goals per game record of 1.27. Impressive but even more so when you realise there are 98 teams with an inferior goals per game record in the Champions League.
On came the youngster Cole Palmer and it was left to Riyad Mahrez, on only his third start of the season, to make it four from the penalty spot after Aymeric Laporte had been fouled.
Copenhagen had been thoroughly outclassed but did manage a damage limitation exercise and almost got a goal when Valdemar Lund’s header dropped just wide from a corner.
City responded by making it five, at the end of a surging run from Grealish, a cross from Mahrez and a tap in from Julian Alvarez.
“We played the best team in the world and they are operating at least two levels above us,” said Copenhagen manager Jacob Neestrup. “There was no relief when Haaland went off because City just have so many top class players, that is what you get when you face them.”
Manchester City thrash Copenhagen – as it happened
What Grealish claims the FC Copenhagen GK said to him about Haaland
He's not human.
Grealish on his form
I'm really settling in now and playing with confidence.
Elsewhere in Group G
Dortmund's 4-1 win on the road at Sevilla puts them second in the group on six points, three behind Man City, who can guarantee progression in the Champions League if they win in their next game, away at tonight's opponents.
Sevilla and FC Copenhagen sit bottom, both tied on one point but with the Spanish side marginally ahead on goal difference.
Haaland just too good
We all knew Erling Haaland would be a great signing for Man City but maybe not quite this good. Another brace today gives him 19 goals in 12 games so far this season.
He's now on 28 Champions League goals in just 22 appearances in the competition, averaging 1.27 goals per game.
Man City dominated possession 73% to FC Copenhagen's 27%, with 792 completed passes to 211. They also had far more shots, 29-2, with the away team's goalkeeper Grabara making 10 saves.
Man of the Match
Hard to resist giving it to Erling Haaland after another brilliant cameo which again has showcased just how deadly he is. Jack Grealish a close second, he did everything right except get his name on the scoresheet. A constant menace when he had the ball at his feet and his connection with Bernardo Silva looks near telepathic.
FT: Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen
An easy win for Pep Guardiola's Man City, who never looked remotely in trouble and barely broke a sweat.
90 mins: Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen
The answer, no. Sergio Gomez with a sweet volley but it's tipped over the bar and the ref blows the whistle to end the game. No added time at all, I guess somebody is in a hurry to get back to their car.
89 mins: Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen
Wilson-Esbrand pulls the ball across goal from the left flank into Mahrez's path, but it's deflected for a corner. Could we see a late goal here?
88 mins: Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen
I am still here. Man City are just passing the ball around and seeing this game out, with FC Copenhagen just sitting off until they get within 25 yards of goal.
85 mins: Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen
The game feels like it's trickling out, with a rare FC Copenhagen break ending in nothing, with their players looking shattered.
82 mins: Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen
Another attempt from Grealish. Mahrez chipss the ball to the edge of the box from the right side of the area and Grealish takes another shot at goal, a sidefoot, which just creeps wide.
80 mins: Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen
Grealish takes another shot but it's straight down the throat of the keeper who denies him again.
78 mins: Man City 5-0 FC Copenhagen
Grealish and Gundogan play a one-two before the England international curls it wide. He's been magnificent tonight.
The Argentinian has been quiet tonight but he's got his goal. It all comes from a great Grealish run, who takes it from the halfway line, before playing it Mahrez who slips it across goal into the path of Alvarez.
74 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
I mention FC Copenhagen's one touch in the box and then they go and have another couple. A break from the Danes gives them a chance to score but young Rico Lewis gets a block and takes it over for a corner, which City eventually clear.
At least that's given the travelling fans something to cheer.
72 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
Credit to the FC Copenhagen fanbase, they're still making a lot of noise despite their team being four down and having only had one touch in the City box.
69 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
A Copenhagen clearance falls to Grealish to plays a beautiful reverse pass into the feet of Alvarez but it hits the post.
65 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
Guardiola brings on young Englishman Joshua Wilson-Esbrand for Bernardo Silva. Nice to see the gaffer giving his talented youngsters a run out.
Wilson-Esbrand donning the number 97 feel a little too Serie A for my liking.
63 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
A foul of Jack Grealish gives City a freekick 25 yards out on the left side of the box. Gundogan hammers it straight into the wall.
61 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
Copenhagen finally get the ball back, but they've lost it again within 10 second. This Man City possession is relentless, it's starting to get the feel of a training game.
59 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
City are camped outside of FC Copenhagen's box and are just passing it around and looking for any space in which to move.
56 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
Rico Lewis comes on for Manchester City with Cancelo making way.
55 mins: Man City 4-0 FC Copenhagen
Mahrez plays in Palmer who opts to pass across the goal rather than shoot. FC Copenhagen clear it.
The Copenhagen goalkeeper points to his left in a bid to put off Mahrez, but it doesn't work, with Mahrez slotting it to that side. 4-0.
Laporte is hauled down from the resulting penalty. It doesn't take much for him to hit the deck but it's a penalty. Who will take it with Haaland off the field?
52 mins: Man City 3-0 FC Copenhagen
Grealish and Silva passing it between themselves in the box, they've been linked it up so well. It goes out for a corner.
51 mins: Man City 3-0 FC Copenhagen
Almost a goal for the guests! They square the ball across goal and City almost get caught daydreaming but they just about manage to get it clear.
49 mins: Man City 3-0 FC Copenhagen
Cole Palmer looks to have started where Haaland left off. He hits a beautiful shot with his left foot but the Copenhagen keeper keeps it out again. He's started his cameo very well.
We're back underway: Man City 3-0 FC Copenhagen
The second half begins.
The headline news is that Haaland has been replaced by Cole Palmer for City, meanwhile it's Lund for Karamoko for the visitors.
HT: Man City 3-0 FC Copenhagen
Man City have walked this game so far. They're strangled the Danish team with possession and taken delight in getting into goalscoring positions. Haaland is, as always, ruthlessly clinical and has a brace but the team should probably be up by more than three.
Such has been their dominance that it almost feels boring and without jeopardy, but you can't help but admire their brilliance. An impressive performance that underlines why they're favourites to win this competition.
43 mins: Man City 3-0 FC Copenhagen
Cancelo pings in a cross from the right hand side, which a leaping Haaland can't quite reach. It falls at the feet of Silva who hits it over the bar from five yards out. He probably should have done better with that chance.
38 mins: Man City 3-0 FC Copenhagen
The first real attack for FC Copenhagen amounts to nothing, with City capturing the ball and going on the attack again.
GOAL!! Own Goal!!
Unfortunate for FC Copenhagen. Grealish scurries into the box, passes back to Gomez who shoots only for Khocholava to make contact and put it into his own team's net, before a hungry Haaland could strike. Even the threat of the Norwegian is causing goals now.
34 mins: Man City 2-0 FC Copenhagen
Alvarez plays in Grealish but the shot is blocked. City continue to pile on the pressure.
He's unstoppable. The corner gets cleared to Gomez who takes a shot from distance, it's parried into the feet of Haaland who knocks it in for his second.
The Norwegian wheels off holding two fingers aloft, while Pep Guardiola grins like a kid on Christmas morning.
31 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
Grealish comes back inside from the left and smashes it goalward with his right foot but Grabara hits it out for a corner. Can City score?
26 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
Grealish and Silva link up again, with Silva's shot being deflected for a corner. City don't make the most of the chance.
25 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
Just 25 minutes into the game and City have already had nine shots. This really does feel like it could be a cricket score for the hosts.
24 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
Now Grealish is getting in on the act, he takes a gorgeous curling shot on his right foot which loops towards goal but the keeper clears it over the bar for a corner, which amounts to nothing.
22 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
Gundogan sets Grealish off on the left flank, who again slides it into the feet of Bernardo Silva who hits the byline and pulls it back right into Haaland's feet. Haaland cuts it onto his left foot and leathers it at goal but the keeper saves it.
20 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
FC Copenhagen get a throw in level with the edge of City's box and they send six men into the box and try to throw it, Rory Delap-style, deep into the box. It doesn't work and City clear. Some ambition though.
18 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
City certainly fancy this game as a chance to boost their goal tallies. Gundogan and Mahrez both takes shots from the edge of the area in quick succession but Grabara keeps them out.
17 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
A defensive mistake from the visitors almost gifts Man City a second but they manage to get bodies around the City attackers and clear the ball.
16 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
Mahrez cuts back in on the right flank and use his left to curl a ball in, which Erling Haaland meets with his head, but he can't get it past a relieved goalkeeper.
15 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
It looks like FC Copenhagen have changed the game-plan and are playing more expansively...well, at least crossing the halfway line.
11 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
It's almost two. Grealish and Bernardo Silva link up on the left flank, with the Englishman sliding a perfect ball through to him. Silva takes the shot and Grabara just manages to touch it on the post.
9 mins: Man City 1-0 FC Copenhagen
FC Copenhagen haven't responded to the early goal but changing their strategy, they already look like they're in damage limitation mode.
Who else but Erling Haaland, it's taken him seven minutes. He slots it home with his right foot after Cancelo passes it across the edge of the box from the right flank.
That goal takes him level with Luis Suarez in the Champions League all time goalscorer charts.
6 mins: Man City 0-0 FC Copenhagen
It's 11 at the back for FC Copenhagen. The visitors are sat deep with everyone behind the ball. So many players back that they'll struggle to even manager a counter.
4 mins: Man City 0-0 FC Copenhagen
City work it towards the FC Copenhagen goal but putt too much fizz on the ball into Haaland.
2 mins: Man City 0-0 FC Copenhagen
Just two touches for Copenhagen in the opening two and a half minutes. A sign of things to come.
2 mins: Man City 0-0 FC Copenhagen
City are entrenched in the Dane's half and play the ball across the field before looking to move up the wings, just looking for space. Goals already feel inevitable.
The game is underway and already City are keeping the ball. Passing it around the back as Guardiola's team look to find angles for progression.
Kick off minutes away
Gundogan and Claesson meet in the middle and shake hands with the officials. We're almost off here.
Who is the referee?
Tonight's game will be officiated by 34-year old Lithuanian referee Donatas Rumsas. This is his first Champions League game of the season but in his past five games in UEFA international competitions he's dished out 22 yellow cards. This could be bad news for the FC Copenhagen players.
All about Erling Haaland
Manchester City have had plenty of incredible players since their influx of Abu Dhabi money but Erling Haaland is arguably their first megastar. A striker breaking records and becoming a global figure on the way. You don't ask if he'll score, you ask how many.
FC Copenhagen lineup
The away side line up a 4-3-2-1.
Grabara - Diks, Vavro, Khocholava, Kristansen - Stamenic, Lerager, Johannesson - Claesson, Daramy - Karamoko
Man City lineup
The home team line up without Kevin De Bruyne or Phil Foden but Erling Haaland does start.
Ederson - Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Gomez - Mahrez, Gundogan, Silva, Grealish - Haaland, Alvarez
Man City vs. Copenhagen preview
Wednesday sees a Champions League clash between Manchester City and FC Copenhagen. City currently sit at the summit of Group G, three points ahead of Dortmund who face Sevilla tonight, and five points ahead of tonight’s opponents, last year’s Danish champions.
The Danes have struggled this season and sit sixth in the Superliga, some eight points of the current front runners Nordsjælland. That early season slump saw Jess Thorup removed from his post as manager, being replaced by Jacob Neestrup, the former assistant.
Copenhagen have allowed 17 goals in 11 domestic games this season, and another three in just two Champions League matches. You’d have to think Erling Haaland will be licking his lips at the prospect of a defence in disarray arriving at the Etihad.
Everybody knew the Norwegian striker would be good but he’s surprised even his biggest fans. His 14 goals in eight league games is a record breaking start and he’s also started off hot in the Europe’s biggest competition, netting three times in the past two games.
City come into this fresh on the heels of a magnificent 6-3 derby win over old rivals, Man Utd, with the aforementioned Halaand and Phil Foden both scoring hat-tricks. They’ve look good in Europe too, demolishing Sevilla 4-0 on the road in the first gameweek and beating a Jude Bellingham inspired Dortmund 2-1 last month.
Copenhagen’s sole point came in teir last European game, a goalless stalemate against Sevilla with the only away trip seeing them lose 3-0 at Dortmund. That adds to a poor away record which has seen them win just one of their previous 10 on the road in this competition. Leave the Etihad with three points tonight and they might just have pulled off one of the biggest Champions League shocks ever.