Erling Haaland could not have scored in opposition to Manchester City, however the Borussia Dortmund striker definitely confirmed the hype may be very actual.
After ten targets in seven Champions League video games this season, the 20-year-old from Leeds got here into the primary leg of the Champions League quarter-final with supreme confidence.
Stress is one thing Haaland appears to thrive beneath; be it in entrance of aim or in entrance of the digital camera with journalists, and the stress coming again to Manchester was firmly on his younger shoulders.
Having been paraded round each premier membership in Europe over the previous fortnight by agent Mino Raiola, many anticipated the conflict in opposition to City to be one thing of an audition.
With Sergio Aguero leaving the membership on the finish of the season after a decade main the road, Pep Guardiola might be eager to recruit a celebrity striker to interchange the Argentine.
So how did Haaland fare in entrance of his potential new supervisor? talkSPORT watched the sport to analyse the celebrity striker on his return to England.
It couldn’t have been a worse begin for Haaland, who tried to supply an possibility down the road for Raphael Guerreiro as a way to escape the Man City press.
Nonetheless, the ball skidded helplessly off the underside of his boot and out of play for a throw in.
It was proper in entrance of the Spaniard, with the Norway striker virtually careering into Guardiola as he tried to regain possession.
The primary sniff of a chance got here when Jude Bellingham confirmed unimaginable ability and drive to wriggle into the City field and drive a save out of Ederson, however John Stones beat Haaland to the rebound to clear.
Haaland is famend for being a poacher – 49 targets in 50 Dortmund video games is proof – but he additionally has unimaginable hyperlink up play.
Particularly, his motion to drop deep and help Bellingham on the counter assault within the 16th minute confirmed his underrated IQ and drew a foul for his facet.
However because the half hour mark approached, it grew to become clear there could also be one space he must work on as a way to persuade Guardiola – his defending.
The 6ft 4ins striker is languid and deceptively fast for an enormous man, but he was content material to drop deep and jog again when Rodri picked up the ball on the centre-backs. City are famend for his or her intense urgent fashion and one would guess Haaland can be no exception.
At risk of going 5 video games with out a aim for membership or nation, Haaland began the second half like a person on a mission and confirmed unimaginable tempo and energy to get in behind Man City.
Ruben Dias has been a rock alongside Stones this season, but the Portuguese was placed on his bottom with consummate ease and Haaland managed to remain on his toes.
Though his shot at Ederson was tame after he was knocked off steadiness, clearly he has the bodily attributes essential to compete within the Premier League.
But his crowning second got here with simply seven minutes of regular time remaining when Bellingham fizzed a ball into his toes as he dropped deep once more within the hope of making one thing for the guests.
A primary time move into the trail of Marco Reus landed completely on the captain’s toes and he confirmed unimaginable composure to get the equaliser.
For all his targets and freakish statistics, Haaland is a intelligent footballer and able to dropping deep to vacate house in behind for runners from deep.
With Ilkay Gundogan scoring for enjoyable this season and Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez tucking in to supply a aim risk from the wings, such an attribute may very well be invaluable.
Hypothesis about what was stated between the striker and match winner Foden on the full-time whistle will proceed to rage lengthy after the sport itself, but Haaland proved he’s greater than only a aim scorer on the Etihad.
There is no such thing as a doubt about what Guardiola thinks. The City boss instructed reporters after the sport: “He’s a high participant, we all know at that age you’ll be able to hyperlink with him, he’s sturdy, top of the range, high class participant.”
With the tie lastly poised earlier than the return leg on the Sign Iduan Park, don’t be shocked if he has one other say earlier than this Champions League quarter last is concluded.