Mane hat-trick puts Liverpool in control of CL last-16 tie in Portugal
Written by Henry on February 15, 2018
Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick as Liverpool thrashed Porto 5-0 to put themselves in complete control of their Champions League last-16 tie after the first leg in Portugal.
Mane broke the deadlock after 25 minutes in a hugely one-sided clash when his shot squirmed underneath Jose Sa.
Mohamed Salah’s clever finish – his 30th goal of the season in all competitions – made it 2-0 shortly afterwards before Mane and Roberto Firmino both scored on the counter in the second half.
A resounding win was completed in the 85th minute when Mane drilled home to become only the fourth Liverpool player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League.
The return leg takes place at Anfield on March 6, but Liverpool’s progress now looks a formality and they may even rest players ahead of their clash with Manchester United later that week.
Porto were unbeaten in their last 24 games in all competitions but they were no match for Liverpool, who seized control of the game with two goals in four minutes midway through the first half.
Sa was guilty of gifting the visitors the opener as he let a shot from Mane squirm underneath his body.
It was soon 2-0 as James Milner hit the post with an effort from the left corner of the box and the rebound fell for Salah, who coolly finished, chipping over the keeper then heading down to himself to tap in from close range.
Liverpool looked comfortable for the rest of the half until Porto almost pulled a goal back in the 43rd minute as Tiquinho Soares drilled a shot narrowly wide.
Sadio Mane says the 5-0 win against Porto was more important than scoring his first hat-trick for Liverpool.
But that was a rare bright spot for Porto as Liverpool dominated after half-time and regularly threatened on the counter-attack.
Liverpool made three changes from their win at Southampton on Sunday as Lovren, Milner and Henderson came in for Matip, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Can, who was suspended. Aboubakar missed out for Porto due to injury.
Mane scored after a swift counter in the 53rd minute, following up to finish after Firmino’s shot was parried out by Sa.
Milner then set up Firmino to score the fourth in the 69th minute and Mane drilled in the final goal with five minutes remaining to complete the rout.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Sadio Mane after he became the fourth player to score a Champions League hat-trick for the club.
Man of the match – Sadio Mane
Mane was the star of the show for Liverpool. While his first goal was fortunate as Sa was beaten too easily, he looked a constant threat on the break and notched a second when he followed up Firmino’s shot.
The third was the best of the bunch, though, as he drilled a shot past Sa from outside the box. Mane might not have been talked about as much as Salah and Firmino recently, but this was a reminder of his qualities.
Liverpool are not in action again until Saturday, February 24 when they host West Ham in the Premier League. They then face Newcastle on March 3 before the return leg against Porto on Tuesday, March 6.