Pep Guardiola compared Erling Haaland to Johan Cruyff after the prolific Norwegian scored a superb late winner against Borussia Dortmund.
Haaland stunned his old club six minutes before a close Champions League clash at the Etihad Stadium as he jumped and stretched to turn an evasive Joao Cancelo cross.
His performance completed a late comeback from City and snatched a 2-1 win after they fell 1-0 behind until John Stones struck a brilliant equalizer in the 80th minute.
It was also Haaland’s 13th goal in just nine appearances since moving from Dortmund to City in the summer.
City manager Guardiola, who played under Dutch great Cruyff at Barcelona, said: “Maybe the people who know me know the influence of Johan Cruyff in my life as a person, mentor, manager.
“Years ago, at the Camp Nou, he scored an incredible goal against Atletico Madrid. It was very similar for Haaland today and the moment he scored I thought: ‘Johan Cruyff’. It was pretty similar.
“It was really good and the support from Joao was exceptional.”
If this comparison wasn’t favorable enough, Guardiola also felt reminded of Zlatan Ibrahimovic by Haaland.
He said: “I remember my dear friend Ibrahimovic had this ability to put his leg on the roof and Erling is quite similar in that.
“I think that’s his nature. He’s resilient, he’s flexible and has the ability to make contact and put the ball in the net.”
City struggled in a goalless first half and fell behind when England international Jude Bellingham headed home towards Dortmund just before the hour mark.
Guardiola responded with a treble and his changes brought new urgency to his side.
After Stones equalized from distance ahead of Haaland’s late try, City clinched a hard-fought win that put them top of Group G with six points from two games.
Guardiola said: “We had a lot of trouble finding rhythm and were so passive in the transition. We fought, we played in the wrong gear.
“In the last 35 minutes we realized: ‘Okay, we’re 1-0 down’, then the substitutes came and gave us a new rhythm.
“After that you can lose, but that’s us.
“But the Champions League doesn’t wait, it doesn’t forgive you. They defended really well.”
City beat Dortmund 2-1 in both games of the quarter-final game in 2021.
Dortmund coach Edin Terzic said: “This is the third time we’ve put in a great performance against them and the third time we’ve gone home empty-handed.
“It’s hard to accept because the lads deserve at least a point tonight, especially when you’re up so close to the final whistle. But in moments like that you just see the quality they have.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/pep-guardiola-borussia-dortmund-champions-league-city-johan-cruyff-b2167532.html Erling Haaland’s Champions League winner reminded Pep Guardiola of Johan Cruyff