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Erling Haaland’s half-time shirt swap with Young Boys skipper raises eyebrows



Champions League - Group G - Manchester City v BSC Young Boys - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - November 7, 2023 Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland celebrates after the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington Acquire Licensing Rights

If  Young Boys’ 3-0 Champions League loss at Manchester City on Tuesday was not humbling enough, manager Raphael Wicky said he would need to speak with Mohamed Ali Camara after learning that his captain had asked City striker Erling Haaland for his coveted shirt – at half-time.

“I didn’t see that, that’s news to me and I’m little bit surprised by that right now,” he said after the match in which Haaland scored two goals while Phil Foden netted the other.

“On the other hand, I don’t think it had anything to do with the game or the performance but I’ll probably have a word with him and see what he thought.

“Maybe Erling asked him to swap, I don’t know!”

The Young Boys player was spotted approaching Haaland, who had already scored one of his two goals by then, as they headed to the tunnel and the two swapped shirts.


It is not uncommon for players to trade shirts at full-time, as many City and Young Boys players did at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, but half-time exchanges are rare and often incur the wrath of fans who feel it out of place in the heat of battle.

Former City player Keith Curle told Sky Sports he would be “raging” as a manager.

But City manager Pep Guardiola said the swap did not bother him.

“I don’t know about it,” he said. “We win 3-0. It happened, I don’t know the reason why.”

The victory meant City have a perfect 12 points in Group G, three ahead of RB Leipzig, and sealed qualification for the round of 16.


It was, however, marred by an injury to key defender John Stones, who is set to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Guardiola said the England centre-back is likely to be out for a substantial period following his half-time substitution.

Stones had already missed the first 10 games of the campaign with a hip injury suffered in pre-season before returning to action in October.

“I think he will be out a while. I feel so sorry for him,” added Guardiola.

His injury is a blow for Premier League leaders City, who face key matches against Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur after the November international break.


Adding to Guardiola’s injury woes was the sight of Manuel Akanji suffering a back problem during the pre-match warm-up, with Kyle Walker a last-minute replacement for the Swiss defender.

 Reuters AFP


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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