Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has equalled Didier Drogba’s record as the African with the highest number of goals in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League. The 30-year-old attacker was on target as the Reds secured a 2-0 win over Villarreal to snatch the edge in the first-leg of the semi-final tie between the pair.
Liverpool’s mandate on Wednesday night was to break down the almost impenetrable wall of Villarreal and after almost an hour of trying, the Premier League side eventually had their breakthrough. First, it was Jordan Henderson who saw his cross deflecting off Villarreal full-back Pervis Estupinan into the goal. 133 seconds later, Sadio Mane continued his fine goalscoring form by doubling the host’s advantage with an assist from Mohamed Salah.
With the goal, the former Senegalese forward took his goal tally at the knockout stage to 14, levelling the tally of former Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba as the highest scoring African in the history of the Champions League. Meanwhile, Liverpool failed to produce anymore goals after grabbing the two quick-fire goals end the outcome of the night’s encounter handed them their first home in the European competition’s knock-out tie at Anfield since that historic semi-final remontada against Barcelona in 2019.
In terms of individual accomplishments, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ended the night with one of his own. The German coach has now won each of his four home matches in Champions League semi-finals – the joint-best 100% win rate at home in semi-finals by any manager in the competition alongsode Marcello Lippi and Ottmar Hitzfeld. The trio have all won four times.
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