Erling Haaland said that taking the 95th-minute penalty against Fulham was “one of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life,” while Pep Guardiola praised how his Manchester City team managed to control their rage to climb atop the Premier League.
Haaland came off the bench to score a penalty in stoppage time as 10-man City secured a 2-1 victory over the spirited Cottagers.
After an early Julian Alvarez goal at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday was cancelled out by an Andreas Pereira penalty, the visitors appeared poised to frustrate the champions.
After Joao Cancelo was sent off for tripping Harry Wilson, which resulted in Pereira’s equalizer, City had to continue the game for more than an hour with a reduced roster.
As is customary, Haaland had the final say despite being unfit after being unwell and suffering a foot injury. In his 17th game for City after joining the team in the summer, he scored his 23rd goal.
Sky Sports quoted the Norwegian as saying: “It’s fantastic. I was nervous [for the penalty]. It was one of the most nervous moments of my life, but fantastic. A penalty in the last minute, of course I would be nervous. But it’s an amazing feeling. I love it. I have been injured for a week and it is really important to win.”
Erling Haaland added when asked if it was wonderful to be back: “I want to play every game. It was difficult [to be on the sidelines] but in the end we needed three points and that is what we got. I am so tired, but so happy. You have no idea.”
After missing City’s previous two games due to a foot injury, Haaland began on the bench. His header was earlier disallowed by VAR for offside, and with four other targets, either missed the ball, missed the target, or saw his effort blocked.
But he was unstoppable, and after converting his second penalty kick for City, he now has 18 Premier League goals in his first 12 games this season, and 23 from 17 games overall.
Haaland’s only worry was that it ended up in the net like all the others, since most of his finishes during that incredible scoring run have been much more emphatic than this most recent strike, which Leno appeared to dive over and get a hand to but was unable to keep out.
“I don’t care how it went in, it is about it going in. It was an amazing feeling,” Haaland said.
“For me, it was about coming in with some energy and try and get a goal because these three points are really important. It was about trying to get it and that is what we did.”
Although his arithmetic let him down when he tried to explain why the penalty still went in, Guardiola said he understood why Haaland was anxious about it.
“It was long time before he could put the ball down and take the penalty,” Guardiola explained. “It means you can think a lot.
“Erling has also had two or three weeks with no training, you can lose your rhythm and your tempo.
“So, while the penalty wasn’t the best we’ve ever seen, I’d still say he hit it hard.
“When you play soft to one side, it is 50-50 [whether it will be saved or not]. If it is strong it is 75-30 – ah, sorry 75-15. Mathematics, I am not a genius!
“Leno, I know him from Germany and he is an incredible saver of penalties. But in the end, the finish was good. It looks like everything was against us today but at the end we could win.”
Before his rescue, it had seemed as though City would be left to regret the tumultuous stretch before the break during which they lost the lead as well as their composure and game control. Even without the threat of important attacker Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham have shown to be more than a match for them.
The first red card City has gotten in a Premier League game they have gone on to win since March 2014, Cancelo’s departure meant City played 64 minutes with 10 men.
Guardiola was furious on the sidelines and his demeanor didn’t improve when Pereira scored without making a mistake to tie the game. However, the relief was evident as the Catalan joined in the celebrations at the end of the game.
At the final whistle, Guardiola joined the festivities, hugging Haaland and leading his men in a lap of honor.
After watching his team play for more than an hour with just 10 players after Joao Cancelo was sent off while also giving up the penalty that resulted in Fulham’s equalizer, he saw this triumph as being of utmost importance.
Erling Haaland This Season
In the first 15 games of the 2022–2023 season, he has scored 18 goals. As a result, he currently holds the top scoring spot in the Premier League.
His shot to goal conversion rate is 61 percent.
After 15 games in the 2022–2023 season, Erling Haaland has three assists. With these numbers, he now holds the 17th spot in the Premier League.
He has generated a total of 14 chances for himself. With these numbers, he now holds the 19th spot in the Premier League.
in the 2022–2023 season, he has won 8 tackles and 26 aerial duels. He also created zero blocks in total on top of it. He is ranked 243 in the Premier League as of match day 15 according to these statistics.