In the bright sunlight and with his dad, Alfie — a former Man City player himself — in the stands, he showed why he was the hottest property in football this summer, his raw athleticism and finishing ability looking a frightening prospect already.
In the first half, Haaland latched onto a through ball which many other players would have failed to reach, touching the ball around the on-rushing Alphonse Areola before being brought down for a penalty which he converted.
Then, after the break, he sprinted past a static-looking West Ham defense into the path of a beautifully weighted Kevin de Bruyne pass before slotting home to double the lead.
“It’s about the connections we do everyday in training and practicing so we get better and this will come even more, so I’m not worried. There were some good celebrations, so I’m happy. Nice that he [his dad Alfie] saw both goals as it is a big moment for me as a beginner in this competition. We have to keep going.
“Also, now, it is almost 30 minutes since I scored the last goal so I have to keep going.”
‘I like it’
Haaland’s arrival in Manchester was accompanied by much fanfare.
The thought 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 lethal attack was mouthwatering for City fans and terrifying for the other 19 Premier League teams.
But his debut on British soil in the Community Shield lost to Liverpool at the end of July tempered excitement, as the Norwegian missed two glorious chances to score.
However, when it came to Haaland’s competitive debut, he didn’t miss a beat, terrorizing West Ham’s defenders from minute one with his athleticism and striker nous.
After the game, City manager Guardiola praised Haaland’s ability to recover from the criticism he received last week and display why he’s already one of the most feared strikers in the league.
“So direct and I think if someone is taking the ball, he would punch them in the face even though they are his mates! And that is a pretty good sign. To be so confident, I like it.”
Guardiola even referenced coaching Lionel Messi and the similarities he sees between the two when it comes to scoring as many goals as possible.
“I was fortunate as manager to be with Messi and when he scored two, he wanted three, and when scored three, he wants four.
“The top goalscorers are never satisfied, they are always hungry and starving and want more.”