Football Features

Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal: Mané equals Drogba and puts Reds on the brink of the Champions League final

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:02, 27 April 2022

Sadio Mané equalled a historic record as Liverpool beat Villarreal 2-0 in the Champions League semi-finals first-leg.

The win gives the Reds a massive chance to head back to their first final since 2019 when they were crowned European champions, and the man who scored the killer goal made some history along the way.

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Sadio Mané is now scored African footballer with the joint-most goals in the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Tonight he scored his 14th strike in the latter stages of the competition, putting him level with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba.

Mané’s 14 goals include a hat-trick away in Porto, a brace away to Bayern Munich and a dramatic equaliser in the 2018 final. He has proven himself a consistent performer on the biggest stage, capable of scoring quality goals just when Liverpool need them.

While the opening goal, an own goal from Pervis Estupinan as he unfortunately deflected a Jordan Henderson cross up and over Geronimo Rulli in the Villarreal net, had more than a touch of fortune about it the second goal was pure class.

Liverpool worked it around the edge of the box before Mané laid it back to Jordan Henderson who dipped it to Trent Alexander-Arnold. The right-back fizzed it in to Mohamed Salah who controlled, back to goal, and in a rare instance for the night was able to turn and face Villarreal defence head-on.

As Salah turned, Mané started running. Salah took two touches but without hesitation just slipped a delicious pass behind the statuesque Pau Torres and Mané, clean through, showed no hesitation to poke the ball beyond Rulli and give the Reds an unassailable 2-0 lead.

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The goal was Mané’s 20th of the season, marking a nice return to form for the Senegalese after he struggled last season and only scored 16. Now he’s back into 20 he will have his eyes on breaking his personal best of 26 goals across all competitions he set in 2018/19.

Mané’s eternal desire to do better is probably why he was so frustrated to be subbed off, but in his time on the field he had 4 shots, made 1 tackle and of course popped up with the winning goal.

Karim Benzema favourite 8/15 with Paddy Power
Other contenders Paddy Power
Mohamed Salah 13/2
Kevin De Bruyne  13/2
Kylian Mbappe 12/1
Robert Lewandowski 14/1
Lionel Messi 20/1
Harry Kane 25/1
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