Erling Haaland’s stunning acrobatic finish to beat his old club Borussia Dortmund 2-1 sparked comparisons from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola with his mentor Johan Cruyff.
The Norwegian had been kept remarkably quiet, but only needed the slightest glimpse of goal to extend his scoring streak to six games as his telescopic left leg prodded home the winner six minutes from time. Haaland has now scored 13 goals in nine games for City since they met his bargain 60 million euro (Rs 478 crore) buyout clause from the German giants.
“Everyone knows how important a person Johan Cruyff was in my life. As a person, educator, mentor, everything. He scored in Camp Nou an incredible goal against Atletico Madrid [in 1973] that was quite similar. The moment he [Haaland] scored, I thought of Cruyff,” said Guardiola.
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Comparison with Zlatan too
Haaland’s incredible flexibility despite his giant frame also drew comparisons from Guardiola to another former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ibrahimovic endured one unhappy season under Guardiola at the Camp Nou, but has used an upbringing in martial arts to devastating effect during his long and storied career. “I remember my dear friend Ibrahimovic had this ability to put his leg on the roof. Erling is quite similar. He’s elastic, flexible and after has the ability to put it in the net. He’s so big, but has this natural flexibility,” added Guardiola.
Jude Bellingham had given Dortmund the lead 11 minutes into the second half, but a triple substitution awoke City from their slumber and two goals in four minutes turned the game around. John Stones’s piledriver from outside the box levelled with the aid of some poor goalkeeping from Alexander Meyer. Haaland then took centre stage by somehow stretching to meet Joao Cancelo’s cross and beat Meyer at his near post.
‘This is how we have to play’
“In the end we showed what we are. This is how we have to play. I’m proud of the last 20, 25 minutes. Two wonderful goals today—mine was a bit better, honestly! It was a nice cross from Cancelo and in the end a really important win,” said Haaland.
No of goals scored by Erling Haaland in 21 Champions League appearances
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