Mane grabs hat-trick for five-star Liver­pool

Nelson Mail - - SPORT - FOOT­BALL

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.

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