June 19, 2021

Dortmund star Reyna details half-time instructions ahead of game-changing Lazio appearance

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The American teenager grabbed an assist on Erling Haaland’s goal, but was unable to help his side earn a result against the Italians

Borussia Dortmund star Giovanni Reyna has detailed the half-time instructions he was given in a game-changing substitute appearance against Lazio on Tuesday. 

Though Reyna grabbed an assist on Erling Haaland’s second-half goal, the German side still fell short in a 3-1 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico in both teams’ Champions League opener.

Dortmund fell behind 2-0 at half-time after a goal from their former striker Ciro Immobile and an own goal from Marwin Hitz.

Looking for a spark, Dortmund boss Lucien Favre introduced Reyna in place of Jude Bellingham and the American immediately paid dividends, finding Haaland for a goal that halved the deficit. 

The assist was Reyna’s fourth of the season, meaning only Harry Kane (eight) has more assists than the 17-year-old in all competitions in the five major European leagues this season.

But the Reyna-Haaland connection wasn’t enough for Dortmund, as Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro scored just five minutes later to seal the points for the Italians.

Speaking to CBS Sports after the game, Reyna said he was instructed to play between Lazio’s midfield and defensive lines and give the team more of an attacking option than Bellingham did.

“Just try to stay in between the lines a little bit,” Reyna said of his instructions. “Jude came out and was a little more defensive and I had to go in and try to create with Erling and the guys in front. Just try to get between the lines and try to spark a comeback.”

“It’s Champions League, it’s pretty self-explanatory,” Reyna added. “Wherever you go and whoever you play, it’s going to be a tough game. 

“I think we started a little bit slow. We still had some chances that we could have scored to make it a little more difficult for them. We could have played a little bit better but now we have to refuel and get ready for the weekend. 

“It’s Champions League, you can’t give any teams chances, you have to take every game serious for 90 minutes plus. It was a tough game but we still have five more games to play and I’m sure we’ll bounce back.”

Dortmund will return to action on Saturday as they take on local rivals Schalke before they are back in Champions League play next week against Russian side Zenit.