Haaland savors remarkable winner against former club, undeterred by opposition
Erling Haaland always expected a tough game against former employers Borussia Dortmund but said "they didn't stop me" after scoring a superb winner in Manchester City's 2-1 comeback triumph.
City were up against it in Wednesday's Champions League encounter when Jude Bellingham nodded the visitors ahead after the break.
But John Stones rifled in a long-range equaliser, which proved the precursor to a moment of genius from Haaland, who produced a stunning acrobatic volley to break the hearts of his former club.
Haaland's stunning intervention came just a day after Dortmund defender Nico Schlotterbeck declared he was well-equipped to stop the Norwegian, shattering a resolute defensive display from BVB.
City's goals – scored in the 80th and 84th minutes – came from their first two shots on target in the match, and Haaland acknowledged how tough it had been for him to make his mark.
"They didn't stop me. I scored. They played well, they were good," Haaland, who at the age of 22 years and 55 days old is now the youngest player in Champions League history to score both for and against a single club, told BT Sport.
"They were good. I was quite sure I was going to be followed the whole game because Edin [Terzic] knows me very well. Dortmund were really good today. In the end, the three points is what matters.
"This is what we are, and this is why we have to play. In the end, I'm proud of the last 20, 25 minutes.
"Two wonderful goals today, mine was a bit better, honestly! In the end, a really important win."
26/21 - Erling Haaland has scored 26 goals in 21 Champions League appearances, scoring every 62 minutes on average:— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 14, 2022
1st app - 3 goals
2 - 1
3 - 2
4 - 1
5 - 1
6 - 0
7 - 2
8 - 0
9 - 1
10 - 1
11 - 2
12 - 2
13 - 2
14 - 2
15 - 0
16 - 0
17 - 1
18 - 0
19 - 2
20 - 2
21 - 1
City have now gone unbeaten through their last 21 home Champions League games (W19 D2), the longest such sequence by an English club since Chelsea also went 21 without defeat between September 2006 and December 2009.
Just as belief was drifting away from the Etihad Stadium, Stones' 20-yard strike whistled past Alexander Meyer to get the hosts back on terms – the England defender's first goal from outside the penalty area for club or country.
Stones explained he had taken up his advanced position for defensive reasons as he acknowledged City did not meet their usual standards for long periods.
"The manager wants us in those sorts of areas for things like that, and to control the counter-attack as well, we're in good positions for balls that come outside the box," Stones said.
"It was one of those things, I was getting a few shouts and just decided to pull the trigger.
"It was difficult, we were definitely not at our best. In the first half we made it difficult, we didn't play at the tempo we should have, we didn’t use the ball well, we had a lot of sloppy passes.
"So at half-time we had some stern words between each other and tried to change that for the second half, and I think we did."
Dortmund goalscorer Bellingham, meanwhile, acknowledged the quality of Haaland's finish in his own post-match interview, saying: "That shows his quality, you know?
"He's not always in the game, but you know if you give him half a sniff, he can make a goal. That's what he did tonight."
City's win moved them three points clear of Dortmund at the top of Group G ahead of back-to-back meetings with Copenhagen in early October.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Sports Tak Staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)