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UEFA Champions League (Day 1): Africans in high places

Sébastien Haller en mode selfie.
UEFA Champions League (Day 1): Africans in high places

The first day of the Champions League group stage was completed on Wednesday 15 September. Five Africans stood out. Here's the replay.

Haller, Haller, Haller, Haller
Sébastien Haller was keen to respect the tradition that the scorer of a hat-trick should go home with the match ball. At the end of Sporting Portugal-Ajax (1-5), he calmly walked up to Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez, the referee, to claim the ball. The ref, who seemed to be very aware of this "law", handed him the object without flinching. It's only fair! Especially since the Ivorian striker has scored not three, but four goals. Moreover, Haller is the second player after Marco van Basten (ex-Ajax, by the way) to have scored a quadruple in his first match in the Champions League (new formula).

Traoré-Yansane, the Sheriff's weapon
They are well on their way to becoming the sensation of the 2021-2022 Champions League. Moldova's Sheriff Tiraspol beat Shakhtior Donetsk 2-0 in their first appearance in the prestigious European competition. With style, intensity, technique and efficiency, they owe their success to Malian Adama Traoré (16th) and Guinean Momo Yansane (62nd). The two Africans scored the winning goals for the team that is considered to be the minnows of group D (that of Real and Inter).

Salah, Mahrez and penalties
Other African scorers were Algeria's Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) and Egypt's Mohamed Salah (Liverpool). Mahrez took part in his team's attacking festival in the 6-3 victory over Leipzig. He scored the third goal of his side's victory from the penalty spot (45+2). Mo Salah missed a penalty but later scored in Liverpool's 3-2 win over AC Milan at Anfield.  It was a rare occurrence at this level of the competition that Senegalese Sadio Mané started the game on the bench.

Ici C'est Brugge!
With two Africans, Angolan defender Clinton Mata and Ghanaian midfielder Kamal Sowah, FC Brugge stole a point from the star - studded  PSG with Messi, Neymar and Mbappe on the pitch. The game ended 1-1.

 

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