Erling Haaland haunted his former club as Manchester City were forced to come from a goal down to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on Wednesday and put one foot in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Norwegian had been kept remarkably quiet, but only needed the slighted glimpse of goal to extend his scoring streak to six games as his telescopic left leg prodded home the winner six minutes from time.
Haaland has now scored 13 goals in his first eight competitive games for City since they met his bargain £51 million ($58 million) buyout clause from the German giants.
Jude Bellingham had given Dortmund the lead 11 minutes into the second half.
But a triple substitution awoke City from their slumber and two goals in four minutes turned the game around.
John Stones’ piledriver from outside the box levelled with the aid of some poor goalkeeping from Alexander Meyer.
Haaland then took centre stage by somehow stretching to meet Joao Cancelo’s cross and beat Meyer at his near post.
Victory sees City open up a three-point lead at the top of Group G, with Dortmund still in second after FC Copenhagen and Sevilla played out a 0-0 draw in the Danish capital.
Bellingham admitted on the eve of the game he had no idea how Haaland can be stopped.
But the Germans did a good job of suffocating the service to their former star striker as the first 45 minutes passed with barely any goalmouth action to note.
The visitors were also first to threaten when the first big chance did arrive five minutes into the second half.
An incisive counter-attack fed Marco Reus inside the area and he left another former Dortmund man Manuel Akanji on the ground before bending his shot inches wide of the far post.
City did not heed the wake-up call as four minutes later, Dortmund did break the deadlock.
Bellingham has been strongly linked with a move back to the Premier League with City, Manchester United, and Liverpool reportedly interested.
The England international was quick to shut down speculation over his future on Tuesday and may have added a few more millions to his price tag as he timed his run perfectly to head in Reus’ cross.
Guardiola responded immediately with a triple substitution as Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, and Julian Alvarez were called upon to add more guile in the final third.
Foden nearly created the chance Haaland had been waiting for all night with a purposeful run into the box and low cross that required a brilliant last-ditch interception from Mats Hummels.
When City’s equaliser did arrive, it came from an unlikely source as Stones blasted home his first Champions League goal since 2017 from outside the box.
Haaland was not to be denied the headlines, though, as Cancelo’s inventive cross with the outside of his right foot was pounced on by City’s giant number nine who raised his foot to head height to flick the ball home.
Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden scored as Manchester City came from behind to defeat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Wednesday’s second leg and book a blockbuster Champions League semi-final clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
Trailing 2-1 from last week’s first leg, Jude Bellingham curled hosts Dortmund ahead on away goals but City hit back through a Mahrez penalty and Foden’s strike to advance 4-2 on aggregate.
Erling Braut Haaland scored twice as Borussia Dortmund held off a late Sevilla fightback to reach the Champions League quarter-finals with a ‘crazy, amazing’ 5-4 aggregate win after a frantic 2-2 second-leg draw on Tuesday.
Haaland, who also netted a double in Dortmund’s 3-2 last 16 first-leg victory, tapped in a first-half opener and scored a retaken penalty after the break behind closed doors at Signal Iduna Park.
“It was a hard game –- I’m tired now, but to be in the next round feels very good,” Haaland told Sky.
“It was a crazy game and a crazy, amazing win.”
Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri scored a 69th-minute spot-kick and a last-gasp equaliser but Dortmund clung on.
“We’re not happy with the result. Truth is, we didn’t have any luck –- they had one chance and they scored,” En-Nesyri told Movistar.
“We fought until the last minute.”
Haaland, the man of the match, is the competition’s top-scorer this season with 10 goals in six games.
The 20-year-old is the youngest player to reach 20 Champions League goals, in just 14 appearances, breaking the previous mark set by Kylian Mbappe.
“We have been punished by a player (Haaland) who will make his mark on this era,” predicted Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui.
Although they had lost three of their four previous games, Sevilla dominated the opening exchanges and Dortmund had to withstand intense early pressure before taking the lead against the run of play.
When the Spaniards lost possession in their own half, Dortmund midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud slipped a pass to Marco Reus, who sprinted to reach the ball at the byline and Haaland diverted in his cut-back.
He had the ball in the net again just after the interval, but the goal was disallowed after the referee decided Haaland had fouled Sevilla defender Fernando before firing home from a tight angle after consulting the pitchside monitor.
However, the referee also awarded a penalty after spotting a foul on Haaland earlier in the build-up.
Reus, Dortmund’s usual penalty taker, stepped aside to allow Haaland to take the spot-kick.
Although his first effort was tipped onto the post by Yassine Bounou, the Sevilla goalkeeper moved before the kick was taken and Haaland made no mistake with his second attempt.
Both Haaland and Sevilla midfielder Joan Jordan were booked for some pushing and shoving, with the La Liga side angered by Haaland’s celebrations.
“I missed the first penalty, but if he’d stood on the line I’d have scored, but he cheated,” added Haaland.
“I was a little bit nervous on the second penalty, but I knew it would be nice to score a second goal.”
Dortmund defender Emre Can also earned a yellow card and gave away a penalty for a blatant push on Sevilla forward Luuk de Jong, which Morocco striker En-Nesyri blasted home.
With five minutes left, Bounou produced a stunning reflex save from Dahoud’s shot in the area.
However, Sevilla were not finished and En-Nesyri netted again with a powerful header just before the final whistle as Dortmund weathered a late storm.
“It was a turbulent game,” said Dortmund caretaker coach Edin Terzic.
“It’s not a given for us to get this far, so now to be among the best eight in Europe makes us very happy. Erling Haaland was just outstanding.”
Full-back Thomas Meunier could still play in the latter stages of this season’s Champions League for Paris Saint-Germain despite signing for Borussia Dortmund, the Bundesliga club’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Sunday.
Belgian international Meunier has signed a four-year deal with Dortmund and will join on a free transfer after the end of his PSG contract at the end of this month.
“We told him, ‘If you want to play in the Champions League, it’s OK for us’,” Watzke told Sport1.
“The quarter-finals of the Champions League is a hell of a level of football.
“If he wishes, we will have to negotiate the details with Paris. He is still thinking and we will try to resolve this matter with Paris.”
PSG beat Dortmund 3-2 on aggregate in the last 16 to reach the quarter-finals before the coronavirus lockdown, with the Champions League set to be concluded with a ‘final eight’ tournament in Lisbon in August.
Norwegian sensation Erling Braut Haaland stole the limelight Saturday as the German Bundesliga became the first major European football league to return since the coronavirus lockdown, with teams playing in empty, echoing stadiums.
The 19-year-old striker claimed the first goal in Germany’s top flight for over two months to set Borussia Dortmund on the way to a 4-0 win over local rivals Schalke.
“There was no noise. You shoot at the goal, make a top pass, score a goal, and nothing happens,” said Dortmund coach Lucien Favre.
“That’s very, very strange. We really missed our fans.
“It’s hard to judge how good the game was, but the players were very focused.”
Winger Raphael Guerreiro added two goals for Dortmund either side of a Thorgan Hazard strike.
Second-placed Dortmund moved to within a point of leaders Bayern Munich, who are chasing an eighth straight title and play Union Berlin away on Sunday.
Haaland steered a low Hazard cross into the far corner on 29 minutes to claim his 10th goal in just nine Bundesliga matches.
It was his 41st goal this season in all competitions and his 13th for Dortmund in just 12 games since joining in January from Red Bull Salzburg.
Haaland celebrated by dancing alone — making no contact with team-mates, who clapped him on — to comply with the strict hygiene guidelines which allowed the league to return.
All matches are being played behind closed doors, with no more than 300 people permitted inside stadiums.
Normally, Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park would be packed with more than 80,000 fans for the Ruhr derby, one of the biggest fixtures in German football.
After Haaland’s opener, an error by Schalke goalkeeper Markus Schubert led to Guerreiro making it 2-0 before half-time.
Haaland then played a role in the build-up to the third goal before Julian Brandt set up Hazard to fire home on 48 minutes.
Guerreiro grabbed his second in style after a one-two with Haaland in the 63rd minute.
Borussia Moenchengladbach climbed to third with a 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt after scoring goals through Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram in the opening seven minutes.
Algeria defender Ramy Bensebaini converted a second-half penalty for Gladbach before replacement midfielder Andre Silva grabbed Frankfurt’s late consolation goal.
Gladbach are three points behind leaders Bayern.
RB Leipzig dropped to fourth after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Freiburg.
Defender Manuel Gulde gave visitors Freiburg a shock lead and celebrated by elbow-bumping teammates, before Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen grabbed a late equaliser.
Freiburg were then denied a stoppage-time winner when a VAR check spotted an offside.
Bruno Labbadia, who was named as Jurgen Klinsmann’s replacement during the lockdown, made a winning start as Hertha Berlin coach with a 3-0 success at Hoffenheim.
The goals came in quick succession with a Kevin Akpoguma own-goal being followed by Hertha captain Vedad Ibisevic grabbing a second. Brazilian Matheus Cunha then made it 3-0.
Contact ‘part of football’
In contrast to elsewhere, Hertha players celebrated their goals by hugging each other, flouting the league’s hygiene guidelines, but Labbadia defended his team.
“The fact is that this is part of football, he said. “We’ve been tested so many times that we can allow it.
“If you can’t celebrate anymore, the whole thing breaks down. I’m just glad that the team had reason to cheer today.”
A German Football League (DFL) spokesman confirmed there will be no punishment, as it had only offered “guidelines” on how goals should be celebrated.
In order to obtain the political green light to resume this weekend, the DFL has tested players and coaches regularly for the virus and teams have been in quarantine for the past week.
Teams arrived at stadiums in several buses in order to meet social distancing requirements inside vehicles.
Although Germany has suffered far fewer deaths from coronavirus than other large European countries, it is still too dangerous for crowds to return.
The DFL has made no secret of the fact that several clubs are in a dire financial situation as a result of the lockdown.
If they are able to complete the nine remaining rounds of matches by June 30, clubs could receive around 300 million euros ($324 million) from television contracts.
Clubs in England, Spain and Italy, where leagues are weeks away from returning, are watching to see how the weekend goes.
The Bundesliga has been expecting millions of extra fans to watch coverage worldwide.
In Germany, there were concerns that fans would try to approach stadiums to support their teams from afar. Police in Dortmund appealed to fans to stay at home and broadcaster Sky reported it was quiet outside the ground.
Some players and coaches have already fallen foul of the rules.
Augsburg’s new coach Heiko Herrlich ruled himself out of his side’s 2-1 home defeat against Wolfsburg after leaving the team hotel to buy toothpaste.
While Herrlich was criticised, there was sympathy for Union coach Urs Fischer after he broke quarantine following a family bereavement.
It means he must miss his side’s clash with Bayern.
Erling Braut Haaland scored his 40th goal of the season as the teenager continued his phenomenal scoring streak in Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday.
The 19-year-old flicked home a second-half cross to score his 12th goal in eight games for Dortmund as Lucien Favre’s side moved second in the Bundesliga, four points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Haaland, who scored twice in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, first-leg win over Paris Saint-Germain, also netted 28 goals for Salzburg before joining Dortmund for 20 million euros ($22 million) in December.
Dortmund ground out victory after showing some early nerves in Bremen where they crashed to a 3-2 German Cup defeat earlier this month.
Centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou gave the visitors the lead by volleying home a Jadon Sancho corner on 52 minutes.
Haaland doubled the advantage by drilling Achraf Hakimi’s square ball into the corner on 66 minutes to score his ninth Bundesliga goal.
After five straight league defeats, Bremen remain 17th and five points from safety.
They suffered another blow in the relegation battle as Fortuna Duesseldorf, who are a place above them, enjoyed a 2-0 win at Freiburg.
Dortmund climbed above RB Leipzig on goal difference.
Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig can move back to within one point of Bayern, who beat bottom side Paderborn 3-2 on Friday, when they visit Schalke later on Saturday.
Fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach slipped six points behind Bayern, albeit with a game in hand, as Lucas Ribeiro’s injury-time strike snatched Hoffenheim a 1-1 draw at Borussia Park.
Matthias Ginter had powered in an early opener for Gladbach, but the hosts were made to pay after Alassane Plea saw a 75th-minute penalty saved by Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
Despite splashing out 77 million euros ($83 million) on transfers in January, Hertha Berlin’s poor form continued in a 5-0 thrashing at home to Cologne.
Hertha were brought crashing back down to earth after Alexander Nouri won his first game in charge following Jurgen Klinsmann’s shock resignation last weekend at Paderborn.
The home side defended woefully and were 2-0 down inside 22 minutes as Jhon Cordoba scored an early double.
The Colombian striker exploited a four-on-two situation for his first goal and easily escaped his marker to head in the second.
Midfielder Florian Kanz added two goals of his own before Mark Uth curled home a free-kick 20 minutes from time as Hertha capitulated.
Neymar has criticised Paris Saint-Germain’s handling of his recent injury after scoring in the 2-1 defeat at Borussia Dortmund, which leaves the French club facing the prospect of another early Champions League exit.
After missing four games in the last fortnight with a rib injury, the Brazilian superstar looked short of match fitness in Tuesday’s last-16, first-leg, defeat at Dortmund.
Norwegian goal-machine Erling Braut Haaland scored twice to make him the Champions League joint top-scorer, but Neymar gave PSG a lifeline for the second leg in Paris on March 11.
He tapped home for what could prove a crucial away goal after being set up by France striker Kylian Mbappe in the second half.