Sadio Mane has equalled Didier Drogba’s record to become Africa’s joint-highest goalscorer in the Champions League knockout stages.
The reigning African Player of the Year was among the goalscorers as Liverpool secured a 2-0 win over Villarreal in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg.
After a goalless first half at Anfield, Pervis Estupinan deflected Jordan Henderson’s cross inside his net to give the Reds a 53rd minute lead.
With the Yellow Submarine still plotting their way to restore parity, the Senegal international doubled the lead two minutes later after he was teed up by Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian navigated his way into the Spaniards’ box before sending the ball to his teammate who sent the ball past goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
Thanks to that strike, Mane has now scored 14 goals in the tournament’s knockout stages to match the Chelsea legend’s mark as the African with the most such goals in the Champions League’s history.
Since his maiden appearance in the championship (during 2017-18 season), only Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has more knockout stage goals than him (16).
Interestingly, there were just 133 seconds between Liverpool opening the scoring and adding a second through the former Southampton man.
Should he find the net in the reverse fixture at the Estadio de la Ceramica, Mane would eclipse the Ivorian’s record.
After impressing for 73 minutes, the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations winners was subbed off for Diogo Jota, while receiving a clapping ovation from the home fans.
For Salah who was in action from start to finish, he was unable to register his name among the goalscorers. Thus, he could not incher closer to Drogba and Sergio Aguero’s Champions League mark.
As things stand, the Egypt international is just three behind both the Ivorian and Argentine for the most goals netted in the Champions League for an English side (36 goals each).