Salzburg striker Erling Braut Haaland marks debut with hat-trick
Salzburg striker Erling Braut Haaland became the third-youngest player to score a Champions League hat-trick, as the Austrian champions romped to a stunning 6-2 home win over Genk yesterday morning (Singapore time).
In the process, the Norwegian, 19, took his tally to 17 goals in nine appearances for Salzburg this season.
Only Real Madrid great Raul Gonzalez (18 years and 113 days) and former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney (18 years and 340 days) have scored trebles in the Champions League while younger than Haaland (19 years and 58 days).
He is also the first player to score more than once on his Champions League debut since Rooney's hat-trick for United against Fenerbahce in 2004.
Haaland is setting his sights high for the campaign, turning to last season's surprise semi-finalists Ajax Amsterdam for inspiration.
"Everything is possible. We all saw Ajax last year, it would be nice to be the new Ajax," he told uefa.com.
"But we know there are a lot of good teams. It's hard, but everything is possible."
It was Salzburg's first Champions League group-stage match, since a 1-0 loss to AC Milan when they were known as Casino Salzburg in 1994.
"Haaland is a great player, but even more (important) for me is that he's a great young man," Salzburg's American coach Jesse Marsch said.
"He works hard and takes nothing for granted... We're really lucky to have him here and, if we can keep him fit, he's only going to get better."
Haaland, the son of former Leeds and Manchester City defender Alf-Inge Haaland, has already made his senior Norway international debut and scored nine goals in an Under-20 World Cup match against Honduras in May.
Haaland, who completed his hat-trick in the first half, earned praise from teammate Maximilian Wober, who believes the 1.91m striker has just announced his arrival on the big stage.
Said Wober: "He proved why he's definitely going to become one of the best strikers in the world." - AFP