SEVILLE, SPAIN (AFP) – Erling Braut Haaland produced another deadly display of finishing with a first-half brace as Borussia Dortmund came from behind to beat Sevilla 3-2 in Spain in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie early yesterday.
Suso’s deflected strike gave last season’s Europa League winners an early lead behind closed doors at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, but Mahmoud Dahoud soon equalised before Haaland took over.
The Norway phenomenon put Dortmund in front in the 27th minute and then scored again two minutes before half-time, the goals taking him to 25 in 24 appearances this season in all competitions.
Still aged just 20, he has scored 18 times in just 13 Champions League appearances since the start of last season.
Substitute Luuk de Jong’s late reply gave Sevilla cause for hope heading into the return leg on March 9, but Dortmund remain favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.
“We didn’t deserve to lose, but in the end they had one of the best players in the world up front and he made the difference in three situations which could have been avoided,” said Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui.
Haaland, who also set up Dahoud’s equaliser, produced a performance, in the first half at least, which showcased his remarkable strength, hold-up play and pace as well as his brilliant finishing.
It was too much for a Sevilla side who had come into this tie with high hopes, having only been beaten by La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, away, in their previous 19 outings.
Lopetegui’s team had won their previous nine matches on the bounce and had kept seven straight clean sheets before the arrival of Dortmund.
“This was one of our best performances of the season,” Dortmund coach Edin Terzic, who replaced the sacked Lucien Favre after the group phase, told Sky.
The quality of Haaland was the difference as Dortmund, having sunk to sixth in the Bundesliga on a poor run of form, came to life on their return to the Champions League.
“We had a good plan. Edin has been good and I’ve been talking a lot with him. He said today would be my game and that I would get my chances and I did, so it was an important win,” Haaland told DAZN.