It was Kylian Mbappé on Tuesday night; It was Erling Haaland on Wednesday. In two matches that lasted more than 24 hours, Spain offered a demonstration of the reasons why Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been on the scene for too long, citing their eras, the two men most likely to replace them.
The Norwegian did not leave Spain with the match ball as the French player did, but gave a lesson of destruction by scoring two goals as Borussia Dortmund defeated Sevilla 3-2 for 45 minutes.
There is something almost unnatural in Haaland, the impact on everyone around him is huge, not just in goals but the variety it has, the almost brutal beauty of the game, the panic that accompanies its opponents while playing. And while Sevilla fought back to make a match for it, Luuk De Jong prepared a wild end with a late goal, Haaland’s double and Mahmoud Dahoud’s beautiful shot finally made it for them.
Sevilla also opened the score. Fernando swung to Suso on the left and turned inside and shaped to hit him, jumping to prevent a shot that didn’t have Jadon Sancho. He took a step closer, this time he shot, the ball passed Jude Bellingham, Mats clipped Hummels’ finger and ended up in the net. It was the seventh minute, and it seemed like the perfect start – moreover, when Jules Koundé strides forward and takes wide shots soon after – but that didn’t last long.
In fact, it took as long as Haaland got up and ran. Sancho’s footwork was swift, Dahoud advanced smoothly through the middle, and Bellingham passed and moved safely. But Haaland is something else, made in the factory but breaks the mold. Every time you set out, you could feel the fear, a breathing accompanying the surge, the needle on the speedometer rising steadily, and the defenders retreating as if they were afraid of stopping in the path of this thing, this machine. After all, he wouldn’t stop.
He collected the ball on the right, dodged Sergio Escudero, slid the ball off Joan Jordan’s legs, and set off. You can immediately feel something is happening. Diego Carlos could definitely have chased after him, Haaland played against Dahoud who cut him off and twisted the perfect curler to the far corner. This was the first time Dahoud started a game in ten weeks; It was also the first time Bono was beaten in 729 minutes.
It didn’t take long for this to happen again. For Haaland. He drew an audible breath as he fired a shot that could literally be described as breathing, without moving his foot. Bono saved this but couldn’t stop him.
Jorge Valdano once unforgettably said that when the Brazilian Ronaldo attacked, the entire herd was attacked and something like this happened in Haaland. The second goal came with a stampede, Haaland shrugged Jordan, ran in Sevilla and called Sancho one or two.
The return pass is perfect, subtle, and played perfectly for Haaland to continue and finish the area. The third was done by Reus before shifting it into Haaland’s path to guide it to the corner, stripping the ball from Ivan Rakitic and Papu Gómez and moving it to the edge of the field. He knelt, raised his arms, his teammates rushed towards him, knowing this was done.
When the second half started, Sevilla took the ball, moving it steadily and with increasing intensity, he simply decided not to let go, but Dortmund didn’t care too much. Instead, they seemed content to wait for the gap to open up in front of them, and for the most part they had no problems with the back.
Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui left Ivan Rakitic in the first half and made three more changes in the hour, but it was Jesús Navas, which seemed to open Dortmund shortly. His delivery was what reached Escudero for a widely convincing effort, the first significant moment since the break.
Lopetegui made another change, introducing Óscar Rodríguez and with his first touch he immediately hit the post with a free kick. Until then, if this was the only time Marwin Hitz was upset, Sevilla kept looking for a way to get back to it, and seven minutes before it was over, another Luuk De Jong played volleyball on another Oscar free kick, hopefully holding it. Tension too. The damage was done.