In full sunshine and with his father, Alfie – a former Man City player himself – in the stands, he showed why he was football’s hottest property this summer, his raw athleticism and finishing ability already looking scary.
In the first half, Haaland latched on to a through ball that many other players would have failed to reach, touching the ball around the rushing Alphonse Areola before being brought down for a penalty which he has converted.
Then, after the break, he sprinted past a static-looking West Ham defense into the path of a beautifully weighted pass from Kevin de Bruyne before heading home to double the lead.
“It’s about the connections that we make every day in practice and training so we’re getting better and it will come even more so I’m not worried. There have been good celebrations so I I’m happy. It’s good that he [his dad Alfie] saw the two goals because it’s a big moment for me as a rookie in this competition. We must continue.
“Also, now it’s been almost 30 minutes since I scored the last goal, so I have to keep going.”
‘I like it’
Haaland’s arrival in Manchester has come with a lot of fanfare.
The idea of adding one of the most dangerous young weapons in world football – who scored 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund – to Pep Guardiola’s already deadly attack was tantalizing for City fans and terrifying for 19 other Premier League teams.
But his debut on British soil in the Community Shield loss to Liverpool in late July dampened the excitement as the Norwegian missed two glorious scoring chances.
However, when it comes to Haaland’s competitive debut, he hasn’t missed a beat, terrorizing West Ham defenders from the first minute with his athleticism and attacking us.
After the game, City manager Guardiola hailed Haaland’s ability to recover from the criticism he received last week and show why he is already one of the most feared strikers in the league.
“So direct and I think if someone took the ball they would hit it in the face even if it was their mates! And that’s a pretty good sign. Being so confident, I like that.”
Guardiola even referenced Lionel Messi’s training and the similarities he sees between the two when it comes to scoring as many goals as possible.
“I was lucky as a manager to be with Messi and when he scored two he wanted three, and when he scored three he wanted four.
“Top scorers are never satisfied, they are always hungry and hungry and want more.”