Erling Haaland was always going to be the focal point of the fixture against his former club Borussia Dortmund, and he lived up to the expectations by firing an acrobatic winner when the match seemed to be heading towards a draw.
It all started with a teasing ball into the box from Joan Cancelo, whose outside-of-the-boot attempt seemed to be little beyond Haaland, whose movement was restricted by one of Dortmund’s defenders. The Norwegian lifted his leg almost to his shoulder level to tap the ball into the net.
To Pep Guardiola, the Haaland’s goal reminded him of Johann Cruyff, who scored a very similar goal while playing for Barcelona in 1973/74. “Years ago Johan Cruyff scored an incredible goal in Camp Nou for Barcelona against Atlético Madrid similar to Haaland,” said Guardiola.
“The moment Erling scored I thought: ‘Johan Cruyff’. It was quite, quite similar. It was an incredible assist by João and the finishing from Erling was exceptional,” said Guardiola after the match,” he added.
Guardiola also drew a comparison to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose outrageous acrobatic ability is something the game has rarely seen before. “I remember my dear friend Ibrahimovic had this ability to put his leg on the roof and Erling is quite similar in that,” he added.
To the doubts about adapting to the fast-paced nature of the Premier League and fitting in a team that had played the entire season without a striker, there couldn’t have been a more emphatic riposte than the 13 goals that Haaland has already scored. If he manages to maintain the same proficiency, the Norwegian wunderkind would very well shatter all goal-scoring records in the league.
But before Haaland, it was John Stones’ scintillating strike that canceled Dortmund’s lead, courtesy Jude Bellingham. Stones played at right-back and broke the deadlock with a 20m effort.
“We want to talk about Erling, okay thank you but John Stones some highlights he deserves it,” said Guardiola about Stones’ performance. “I’m pretty sure the first half, John would not have had the courage to try it but we had it. John, exceptional I’m so happy for him.”
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