Haaland quickly went to Foden at the final whistle
The Champions League meeting between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund was billed as the elite stage for one of the most discussed 20-year-olds in world football – and it has also proven itself.
In this case, however, it was Phil Foden of Manchester City who had the final say on Haaland with the deceased winner in a fascinating quarter-final first leg.
Haaland had shown his undoubted brilliance, but it was Foden who put aside the frustration of missing two previous opportunities and scored the winning goal in the 89th minute to give Manchester City a narrow 2-1 lead for the second leg To provide.
The amazing Norwegian Haaland, who is currently being courted by so many European superpowers, could still have his say in the return leg in Dortmund as he also demonstrated what all the excitement is about.
Dortmund will still feel right in this game, especially since this triumvirate of glorious young talent shown in Manchester was completed by its outstanding 17-year-old Englishman Jude Bellingham, who once again showed remarkable maturity and embroiled in the most controversial moment of the night was.
But it was Foden who made the decisive contribution after Dortmund’s company was rewarded with the equalizer in the 84th minute from Marco Reus. City woke up from his disappointment at bringing his nose forward again.
As with Haaland and Bellingham, Foden has a football wisdom that goes against his youth, constantly researching and placing himself in dangerous positions without being deterred from missing his chances before finally reaching the goal, cautious optimism for City to enable the return.
While its winner means he’s overshadowed Haaland, Dortmund’s golden boy consistently hinted at his threat and Guardiola doesn’t need a warning about his level of threat and the danger he poses to the city’s longstanding Champions League aspirations.
The first thing that strikes you about Haaland is its sheer size – it towers over its teammates, an enormous physical presence.
And even on one of his quieter nights, Haaland graphically showed that he is the complete package that will indelibly shape his name in the game in the years to come.
Haaland was on the sidelines in the first half but still showed good touch, team awareness and selflessness to put Bellingham in a better position and save Ederson in the first half.
However, it was in the second half when Haaland showed exactly what he was about. The moments were fleeting, but the threat was clear.
Haaland epitomized explosive pace, strength and physical ferocity to step in behind City’s outstanding defender Ruben Dias, who wasn’t sloppy himself and was at the end of a pass.
The Manchester City defender got so close that Haaland was slightly unbalanced in a duel with Ederson and his shot hit the goalkeeper directly.
And it was Haaland’s subtle touch and vision that played in the experienced Reus for the goal that would bring visitors back to Germany on an equal footing.
It shouldn’t be, but Haaland’s presence will dominate the entire second leg.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola plays it cool when it comes to a potential interest in Haaland which will cost well over £ 100m and while he may not yet have quite the amazing work rate the Catalan is demanding It didn’t take a huge leap of imagination to visualize the kind of mayhem he could wreak on a team as creative as the runaway Premier League leaders.
Whether Guardiola’s position wears off remains to be seen, but a club will get a powerful striker if Haaland leaves Germany.
Foden is invaluable to Manchester City and every contribution he makes on this highest club stage only speaks more for his inclusion in the English team for this year’s European Championship.
Another controversial player is Bellingham, who with Borussia Dortmund made a seamless transition from the championship and Birmingham City to the Champions League.
17-year-old Bellingham is a player with foresight, creativity and an eye for goal and a nervous approach that makes him at home at this diluted level.
And he had the right to be the most disappointed player at the Etihad Stadium when he and Borussia Dortmund were denied a clear goal that would have brought Manchester City even more warmth.
Bellingham were the first to pass in front of Ederson and although the Manchester City goalkeeper appeared to be kicking his foot, the unpredictable Romanian referee Ovidiu Hetegan, who previously had to save a penalty for City when he fouled Emre Can Rodri punished, stunned Most of them gathered in this largely deserted arena by whistling and awarding a free kick to the home team.
There was a moment when Bellingham, who was about to roll the ball into an empty net, became stunned as he crouched in disbelief. It was easy to sympathize, especially since the referee could easily have resumed play before referring to VAR if a goal would certainly have been awarded.
Injustice for Bellingham and Borussia – but there is still a lot to play in Germany.
And with three talents like Foden, Haaland and Bellingham, there is still a lot to offer in this fascinating Champions League quarter-finals.