1. Haaland’s amazing act completes City comeback
Who else but Erling Haaland to pop up with a late winner as Manchester City fought back from a goal down to beat former club Borussia Dortmund?
The Norwegian striker scored his 13th goal in eight games since arriving at the Etihad Stadium from Dortmund in the summer and this might have been the best of the lot.
City, sluggish in the first half, looked set to drop points after Jude Bellingham’s expert header had put the visitors 1-0 up only for John Stone to score with a rocket from 20 yards to make it 1-1. Dortmund had, up until the 84th minute, done a good job of restricting their former striker to a couple of half chances until Joao Cancelo bent in a cross from the left and Haaland acrobatically stuck out a leg at the back post to punch the ball past Alexander Meyer.
Meyer almost seemed surprised that Haaland had managed to somehow guide the ball back into the net, and his smile afterwards said everything about how happy he was with the finish. The talk already this season has been about whether Haaland can be the difference for Man City in the Champions League this season and, with a moment of brilliance, he was against Dortmund.
2. Grealish’s slow start in Year 2 continues
After a year bedding into life at Man City, this was supposed to be the season when Jack Grealish showed why the club were so keen to spend £100 million to bring him in from Aston Villa, but his campaign is off to a slow start.
He hasn’t been helped by an injury which saw him miss games against Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest but handed a start against Dortmund, he struggled to take his chance. He wasn’t alone in having a below par first half as Man City failed to create a meaningful chance during the first 45 minutes, but when it came time for Pep Guardiola to make changes before an hour was on the clock, Grealish was one of three sacrificed alongside Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan.
One of the reasons City were open to letting Raheem Sterling leave in the summer was a belief that this season would see Grealish begin to replicate his form at Villa. It’s only September and there’s a long way to go, but Grealish would have hoped for more from his first few games of the new season.
3. Bellingham shows why he’ll be on transfer radar
Jude Bellingham dodged the inevitable question about one day returning to play in England while he was on media duties at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night but the expectation is that it will happen eventually. The 19-year-old, who scored with a poacher’s header from Marco Reus‘ volley into the box, was so assured in Dortmund’s three-man midfield that he will have almost certainly caught Pep Guardiola’s eye — and there have been suggestions he is already on City’s radar with director of football Txiki Begiristain eyeing up eyeing up midfield reinforcements ahead of next summer.
Manchester United and Liverpool would also be interested in signing Bellingham, but City would back themselves to land one of Europe’s best young players — just as they did with Haaland. City have viewed Haaland’s arrival — in the face of competition from every one of Europe’s top clubs — as something of a watershed moment for their recruitment and believe they have shown the Etihad to be the place where players can both win trophies and improve, particularly under Guardiola. You can already sense City working on their pitch.
Borussia Dortmund: Alexander Meyer 6, Thomas Meunier 7, Raphael Guerreiro 6, Niklas Sule 7, Mats Hummels 7, Emre Can 6, Salih Ozcan 7, Jude Bellingham 7, Marco Reus 7, Giovanni Reyna 6, Anthony Modeste 6.
Best and worst performers
BEST: Erling Haaland, Manchester City.
He’s in the team to score crucial goals, and this was a big one. It was a top finish from a player in unbelievable form.
WORST: Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City.
City didn’t have a shot on target in the first half, and it was no surprise that Mahrez was one of the players hooked by Guardiola after 58 minutes.
Highlights and notable moments
Haaland’s goal — pretty remarkable.
IT HAD TO BE ERLING HAALAND AGAINST HIS FORMER CLUB 💥 pic.twitter.com/QSmZ6COy8H
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) September 14, 2022
A frame-by-frame breakdown of the goal.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 14, 2022
After the match: What the managers, players said
“We scored two wonderful goals today — mine was a bit better, honestly. It was a nice cross from Cancelo.” — Erling Haaland comparing his goal with that of teammate John Stones.
“Yeah I knew it [would be him] to be honest. Not many people know how to stop him. We did a really good job tonight and then he did what he does — unfortunately for us.” — Jude Bellingham, on ex-Dortmund teammate Haaland.
Key Stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)
– Erling Haaland has scored in 6 of his last 7 home games in the Champions League. The lone exception? A home game with Dortmund against Manchester City on April 14, 2021. And his 26 goals in the competition are now more than notable greats Robin van Persie and Hernan Crespo (25 each).
– Manchester City are now riding a 20-game unbeaten streak at the Etihad in Champions League play. Impressive? Still nowhere near Barcelona‘s 38, which is the longest home undefeated streak in the competition.
Manchester City: A visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday before the international break. Once back, two home fixtures on the docket — the derby against Manchester United on Oct. 2 and then a return to Champions League group stage action against FC Copenhagen on Oct. 5.
On a related note, the Premier League has postponed City’s Oct. 19 game against Arsenal so that the Gunners could accommodate a rearranged Europa League game against PSV Eindhoven. Arsenal risked forfeiting the points after the original match against PSV — due to be played on Thursday — was unable to go ahead due to policing issues in London relating to events in the capital following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Borussia Dortmund: It’s the return of the Revierderby with newly promoted rivals Schalke 04 visiting on Saturday. Following the international break, its a trip to FC Cologne on Oct. 1 and then off to Sevilla on Oct. 5 for a Champions League group stage match.