Pep Guardiola was left relieved as Manchester City stole an injury-time 2-1 Premier League victory from Fulham on Saturday afternoon, once again thanks to the prolific Erling Haaland.
The Blues were expected to ease to a victory over the newly-promoted team, but a red-card to Joao Cancelo in the first-half made the afternoon exceedingly difficult for the Premier League champions.
Erling Haaland was once again left on the bench as he recovers from an injury complaint, although the Spanish coach needed to call on his star player in the second-half.
Julian Alvarez was given the chance to start in attack in the Norwegian’s absence, and he took just 16 minutes to find the back of the net.
The Argentine was set through on goal by Ilkay Gundogan and he unleashed a devastating shot beyond Bernd Leno in the Fulham goal.
City were expected to kick on from there, but Fulham dug in and showed resilience.
94:33 – At 94 minutes and 33 seconds, Erling Haaland's penalty is Manchester City's latest winning goal in the Premier League since November 2017 against Southampton, when Raheem Sterling scored on 95:04. Rescued. pic.twitter.com/EDeGqVrpp0
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 5, 2022
The match changed when the Cottagers were given a penalty in the 28th minute.
Cancelo made a rash challenge in the penalty area and was shown a red-card which VAR ratified.
Former Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira converted the spot-kick and levelled the match.
From this point it was a difficult match for the hosts, as they had to try and break down a resolute defense without enough men to create overloads on either flank.
Though, there were still moments of brilliance from City. Jack Grealish had an effort cleared off the line, whilst Nathan Ake’s powerful header was saved well by Leno.
Guardiola then eventually turned to his x-factor. Haaland was called off the bench and he unsurprisingly made the difference.
He thought he scored the winning goal 15 minutes before he actually did when he found the net with a brilliant header.
Kevin de Bruyne’s pinpoint cross found the Norwegian inside the area, however VAR showed that he was offside and the goal was chalked off.
As the match entered the third minute of injury time, De Bruyne was tripped by Antonee Robinson and a penalty was awarded.
Haaland stepped up and put the ball beyond Leno, who could perhaps have got a stronger hand on the shot, securing the victory with no time left to play. The Norwegian’s strike was his 18th Premier League goal of the season.