Pep Guardiola’s men edged out Bayern Munich at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, thanks to the Norwegian’s first goal for the Club just 12 minutes into his debut.
Reviewing the action on our Matchday Live show, the pair highlighted the importance of the striker opening his goalscoring account so early in his City career but also hailed craftsmanship of the goal itself with Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish the architects.
“It must be such a great feeling for him,” said our former defender Onuoha, on Haaland. “He knows all eyes are on him – he’s very aware of his presence and how people perceive him.
“A lot of eyes will have tuned in, a big audience – not just because it’s City v Bayern but because it’s City with Haaland v Bayern.
“They’re big talking points, big moments and that’s what people tune in to see, what they want to see.
“For him to have been able to do that in front of nearly 80,000 fans with hundreds of thousands more watching the game, it was a great moment.
“You can see the joy it brought to the players – the new signing off the mark. You can’t put a value on that, it’s truly incredible.”
Goater, who scored 103 goals for City, agreed: “It’s a brilliant bit of play. Three key players were involved – KDB, Grealish and Haaland.
“Before he receives the ball, Grealish has a quick glance over his shoulder – he knows he has time to look – and takes a touch, which takes out the defender. He sees in the corner of his eye the blue shirts and puts it across.
“Haaland is just in the right place – he knows he’s got to get there, make that two, three yards to get a foot on it.
“We’re going to see a lot of this – it’s a typical City goal. It’s not a ball from wide, it’s a straight ball through but it’s typical in terms of the phase of play, the ball getting to the byline and being put across the six-yard box.
“I can see that’s ten goals a season for him.”
With two wins from two in the United States – a 2-1 triumph over Club America as well as our victory over Bayern – the tour proved highly successful for the Premier League Champions, who kick-off competitive action for 2022/23 with our Community Shield clash against Liverpool next Saturday.
Goater and Onuoha also noted the importance of building a run of momentum into a new campaign – a sign of the side’s elite winning mentality.
“It’s really pleasing, and to have no injuries,” Goater declared. “For me, the big plus was that our pressing was unbelievable. If you think about pre-season, players aren’t always up to the levels they need to be at, they look at different parts of their game….
“A number of times, we won possession back to go and create attacks. It takes energy to be there consistently pressing. It was really good.
“It’s in this team. You look at pre-season and it’s about getting through to the next game, not getting injured, improving things… but for these guys, it’s also: ‘We’re world-class. We don’t lose games.’
“This is the standard Pep has in them and they have within themselves. It’s amazing. Winning two games in pre-season is just the expectation they have within themselves.”
Echoed Onuoha: “It’s important. Winning is always important. That’s why people play the game and when you have the chance to win as many games as City do, winning always matters.”