Mane grabs hat-trick for five-star Liverpool
Liverpool have one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals after a 5-0 away thrashing of Porto in the first leg of their last-16 match yesterday.
Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino provided the other two goals to give the Premier League side a huge advantage ahead of the second leg at Anfield on March 6.
‘‘It was hard work, but in the end the boys enjoyed it,’’ Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said.
‘‘We knew we were facing a great team but we weren’t expecting this,’’ said Porto defender Alex Telles, whose team was without injured midfielders Danilo Pereira and Andre Andre. Striker Vincent Aboubakar was also out with a muscle problem.
A mistake from Porto goalkeeper Jose Sa allowed Mane’s shot to squirm under his body after a slow start from the visitors, and Salah displayed all his class to make it 2-0 four minutes later inside the first half-hour.
James Milner hit the post but Salah was well-placed to take the rebound, lift it with his left foot and then head it past Sa before slotting into the empty net without letting it touch the ground.
The home side showed promise after the break but was caught on a counter-attack when Sa saved Firmino’s effort, only to push the ball toward Mane’s feet. The Senegal striker needed no second invitation for his second goal.
Firmino got the goal his performance deserved with a simple finish inside the left post from Milner’s cross with 20 minutes remaining, and Mane took advantage of some lax defending to seal the win with a fine strike from distance late on.
Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as Real Madrid stunned Paris Saint-Germain with a late flourish to earn a 3-1 victory .
At the Santiago Bernabeu, Neymar made his return to Spanish soil after his world record €222 million ($NZ375 million) move from Barcelona but it was his old nemesis Ronaldo who decided the contest.
Adrien Rabiot broke the deadlock after Nacho, worried about Neymar, deflected the ball into his path in the 33rd minute, but Ronaldo levelled from the spot on the stroke of halftime.
The second half saw the two sides battle to and fro, hard to separate, until substitute Marco Asensio forced Areola to tip his low cross into the path of Ronaldo, who improvised a finish with his thigh in the 83rd minute.
With PSG rocking, Marcelo took full advantage, finishing from another Asensio cross three minutes later to give Madrid a healthy lead to take to Paris on March 6.
‘‘This is a very important victory. These Champions League games are nights you always want to remember and we showed exactly how you need to play,’’ Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said.
‘‘We showed lots of personality and proved that despite all the speculation about us you can never presume Madrid are dead.’’
Sadio Mane scores one of his three goals in Liverpool’s 5-0 rout of Porto in the European Champions League last 16 first leg match.