Erling Haaland’s stunning finish against former club Borussia Dortmund sparked comparisons from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola with his mentor Johan Cruyff, who had scored a similar goal at Camp Nou back in 1973. Haaland, who continued his scoring streak to six games, sealed a 2-1 win for the English side as he met a high cross with a twisting leap in the 84th minute and produced an acrobatic volley that sent the ball goalward.
Haaland has now scored 13 goals in his first eight competitive games for City since they met his buyout clause from the German club. The win also helped City open up a three-point lead at the top of Group G of the Champions League, with Dortmund still in second after FC Copenhagen and Sevilla played out a 0-0 draw.
Guardiola said it reminded him of a famous goal scored by Cruyff for Barcelona against Atlético Madrid in 1973-74. “Everyone knows how important a person Johan Cruyff was in my life. As a person, educator, mentor, everything,” said the gaffer. “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.”
Haaland’s incredible flexibility despite his giant frame also drew comparisons to another former Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I remember my dear friend Ibrahimovic had this ability to put his leg on the roof,” said Guardiola. “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.”
Jude Bellingham gave Dortmund the lead 11 minutes into the second half but John Stones’ piledriver from outside the box levelled things up. Haaland then rose to the occasion to meet Joao Cancelo’s cross and beat goalkeeper Alexander Meyer at his near post.
“In the end, we showed what we are. This is how we have to play. I’m proud of the last 20, 25 minutes,” said Haaland. “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.”
Dortmund star Bellingham admitted on the eve of the game he had no idea how Haaland can be stopped. “I think we were brilliant for the majority of the game,” said Bellingham. “We gave them little to work with. Great teams, you give them a yard and they can deliver like that, they can hurt you and that’s what they did tonight.”