Home News Sports Erling Haaland goal for Manchester City was part Johan Cruyff, part Zlatan...

Erling Haaland goal for Manchester City was part Johan Cruyff, part Zlatan Ibrahimovic


Pep Guardiola hailed Erling Haaland‘s winner against former club Borussia Dortmund as a cross between Johan Cruyff and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Norwegian striker earned Manchester City a 2-1 win against his former club with an acrobatic finish in the 84th minute — his 13th goal in just eight games since his summer move to the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola said the goal invoked memories of Cruyff and Ibrahimovic — whom the City manager appeared to sarcastically call a “dear friend” after conflict between the pair during their time together at Barcelona — and admitted it had glossed over a mostly below-par performance from his team.

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“Maybe the people who know me know the influence Johan Cruyff had on my life as a person, a mentor and years ago he scored an incredible goal in Camp Nou for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid,” Guardiola said.

“The moment Erling scored I thought it was quite, quite similar. I remember my dear friend Ibrahimovic, who has this ability to put the leg on the roof, and Erling is quite similar in that.

“I think it is his nature, he is elastic, he is flexible and after has the ability to make contact and put the ball in the net. I think his mum and dad give him that flexibility.”

City failed to register a shot on target in the first half and fell behind to a Jude Bellingham header shortly after half-time.

John Stones, playing at right-back, equalised with an unlikely 20-yard rocket after 80 minutes and Guardiola suggested afterwards he was not pleased with large chunks of his team’s performance.

“We were not in the right tempo,” Guardiola added. “The goal from John Stones. In the first half John Stones does not shoot, but in that moment we were in the right rhythm.

“John was in the right rhythm and makes an exceptional goal. We cannot make the 60 or 65 minutes we play, we are a different team. It is not about winning or losing, every day you have to perform well. It is a good lesson.”

Goalscorer Bellingham, meanwhile, was one of Dortmund’s standout performers, with the 19-year-old midfielder branded “an exceptional player” by Guardiola after the game.

“I think we were brilliant for the majority of the game,” Bellingham said. “We gave them little to work with. Their really good players were playing well, but they weren’t necessarily killing us in dangerous areas.

“I think that’s where we had the advantage, and obviously great teams, you give them a yard and they can deliver like that, they can hurt you and that’s what they did tonight.”

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