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African All Stars

Ajax’s Haller battles Dzeko and Forsberg for Champions League award

11:45 WAT 25/11/2021
Sebastien Haller Ajax
Following his impressive performance against the Black Eagles on Wednesday, the Ivorian is up for an individual prize

Ajax forward Sebastien Haller has been shortlisted for the Champions League Player of the Week.

The Cote d’Ivoire international – who came on from the bench - found the net twice as the Dutch Eredivisie outfit defeated Besiktas 2-1 in Wednesday’s group stage encounter at the Vodafone Park in Istanbul.

The 27-year-old beat goalkeeper Mert Gunok on two occasions in the second half to help Erik ten Hag’s men overcome the hosts in the keenly contested encounter in Turkey.

Haller will compete with Inter Milan’s Edin Dzeko, Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Goncalves and RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg for the individual player accolade.

Forsberg put up a man-of-the-match performance – scoring twice as the Bundesliga outfit demolished Belgian side Club Brugge 5-0 at the Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges.

The player with the highest number of votes will be crowned as the Champions League Player of the Week.

Manager Ten Hag waxed lyrical about the striker who ensured Ajax maintained their perfect start in the 2021-22 competition.

"The role of him catches the eye. I am very happy that someone from the bench is having this effect.

"We had the upper hand in the first half and also created chances. Although occasionally something went.

"Especially on the right side, the organization was not always good. Besiktas came through well a number of times. It wasn't always good in our defence either."

With his brace, Haller became the first player to score nine goals in five Champions League games.

On an individual note, the African who joined Ten Hag’s side in January from West Ham United has now become the fourth player to score in each of his first five appearances in the elite European competition after Alessandro Del Piero (1995), Diego Costa (2014) and Erling Haaland (2019).

Having scored nine goals in five matches so far, the Cote d’Ivoire international is now nearing a club record held by Soren Lerby as Ajax's highest goalscorer in a single Champions League season with 10 goals in eight games.

Unbeaten in their last eight matches in all competitions, Ajax travel to Sparta Rotterdam for their next league outing on November 28.