‘I never expected such a debut’ – Ajax hero Haller revels after Champions League heroics



In his maiden appearance in the European tournament, the Ivorian star found the net on four occasions against the Portuguese top-flight side

Ajax star Sebastien Haller revealed he never expected a ‘dream’ debut in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Making his maiden appearance in the European club competition, the Cote d’Ivoire international scored four times as the Dutch top-flight side demolished Sporting Lisbon 5-1 at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

That feat saw him equal Marco van Basten’s 29-year-old Champions League record. Prior to that game, the Netherlands great was the only player to score four times on his Champions League debut – which he attained in November 1992 against IFK Goteborg during his spell at Serie A side AC Milan.

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In addition, the former West Ham United man joined Simone Inzaghi, Dado Prso, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Andriy Shevchenko, Lionel Messi, Bafetimbi Gomis, Mario Gomez, Robert Lewandowski, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Josip Ilicic and Olivier Giroud in the ranks of players who have scored at least four goals in a match in the European elite club tournament.

Discussing his exploits against Ruben Amorim’s Lions, the 27-year-old claimed he has come to terms with his performance against the 19-time Primeira Liga kings.

”This was a dream debut, but we also played well as a team. Both tactically and mentally, we did well. I’m happy,” Haller was quoted by Ajax website.

”Of course, I never expected such a debut because you’re trying to focus. That went well. I scored after just a minute of play. Of course, that also gave a boost.

“You know your debut is already good by then. Everything that follows is actually extra. I was able to focus even more on the team after that first goal.

”I can hardly realize this yet. It can go fast. I don’t think anyone expected a 1-5 win. We can enjoy this.”

Haller was in action from start to finish while Morocco international Noussair Mazraoui was substituted for Devyne Rensch in the 70th minute.

The forward would be hoping to continue with his fine form when Ajax welcome Besiktas to the Johan Cruyff Arena on September 28.

Before then, he will lead the attack for Erik ten Hag’s team when they take on Cambuur, Fortuna Sittard and Groningen in their next three league outings.



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