As Manchester City easily defeated Burnley, teammate striker Julian Alvarez outshined Erling Haaland on his comeback from injury.
Haaland was brought on as a 71st-minute substitute at Etihad Stadium, marking his first appearance since breaking his foot in the 6 December loss at Aston Villa.
But even if the Norwegian’s main contribution was to make his teammates Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva laugh from the bench after he miskicked a shot that was meant to be made on the turn, Alvarez celebrated turning 24 in style.
The Argentine won man-of-the-match accolades after becoming just the 10th player in a Premier League game to score two goals or more on their birthday.
Both attempts were made during the first period. In the sixteenth minute, Matheus Nunes sent a beautiful chipped cross into the six-yard box, where Alvarez headed home.
Six minutes later, Kevin de Bruyne shaped to curl a cross into the box, but instead curled a lovely 20-yard pass that just needed the first-time finish. Alvarez benefitted from this masterfully executed training ground free-kick routine.
In the first minute of the second half, Rodri scored his third goal in style, finishing off a cut-back from Phil Foden on the outskirts of the area.
The manner his team persevered until the very end will have thrilled Burnley manager and former City captain Vincent Kompany.
At least they managed to salvage a goal during injury time, as defender Ameen Al-Dakhil headed in their first goal in seven trips to this venue since 2018.
Nevertheless, they were ultimately unable to prevent City, who are currently in second position, from winning for the eighth time in all competitions and for the 13th time against Burnley, who are in second place.
With a game remaining, City is tied with third-place Arsenal and five points behind leaders Liverpool in the race for an unprecedented fourth straight league championship.
And manager Pep Guardiola feels that in order for his team to win the championship again, they must go on a big winning streak.
“With this Liverpool that we have faced for eight years, and Arsenal, with Mikel [Arteta] who has settled his squad, I don’t have the feeling that they’re going to drop much points,” he added.
“We have to win as many games as possible and, at the end, we will see what happens.”