The Premier League's top scorer had missed the last two games with a foot issue but was back on the bench as Pep Guardiola's side looked to make it 10 home wins from 10 in all competitions this season.
And the champions got off to a routine start at the Etihad Stadium, Julian Alvarez putting them ahead after 17 minutes with his second goal in the space of four days.
But things took a turn for the worse just eight minutes later when Joao Cancelo was sent off for a last-man foul on Harry Wilson in the box. Andreas Pereira dispatched the resulting penalty to level the scores at 1-1.
It looked as if that was how it was going to stay, especially after Fulham got a big let-off midway through the second half as Haaland – introduced just after the hour mark – had a goal chalked off for offside by VAR.
With their resident goal machine on the pitch, though, there was always a certain inevitability about the result – and deep, deep into stoppage time, City got their opportunity to snatch all three points: Kevin De Bruyne was brought down Antonee Robinson – and up stepped Haaland to bag his 18th league goal of an extraordinary campaign.
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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...