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Former West Ham forward equals Marco van Basten’s Champions League record on debut

Former West Ham forward equals Marco van Basten’s Champions League record on debut

Ajax dismantle poor Sporting side

Champions League football returned once again this evening, as the second round of clubs began their 2021-22 group stage campaigns. While all the focus will have, from a British point of view, been on Liverpool and Manchester City, Ajax quietly had a fantastic start to proceedings.

The Dutch outfit were facing Portuguese giants Sporting CP, and wasted no time in taking an early lead. Ajax opened the scoring after just two minutes, before doubling their advantage before 10 minutes had even been played.

While Sporting got one back just after the half hour mark, the Amsterdam side reclaimed their two-goal advantage six minutes later on their way to a 5-1 rout in Portugal.

Haller equals 30-year-old record and sets his own

The undoubted star of the show was former West Ham United man Sebastien Haller, whom Ajax actually forgot to register for Europe upon signing him last January.

This meant that tonight marked his Champions League debut, and he took full advantage of it, netting an astounding four times.

The goal haul represents only the second time that a player has netted four on debut in the competition, following in the footsteps of Dutch great Marco van Basten, who set the record 30 years ago.

Only two players in Champions League history have scored four goals on their UCL debut:

Haller also set his own record too, however, becoming the first player in the history of the Champions League to score a brace in his first 9 minutes of play, a feat that will take some beating.

With West Ham crying out for a backup striker, did they cash in on their 45 million pound man too soon?

On tonight’s evidence, it certainly seems so.

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.