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African All Stars

Liverpool's Mane equals Drogba's Champions League record against Villarreal, behind Real Madrid's Benzema

23:53 GMT+3 27/04/2022
Drogba, Mane
Thanks to his goal against the Yellow Submarine, the Senegal ace has matched a feat only achieved by the Ivorian football legend

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 found the net as Liverpool secured a hard-fought 2-0 triumph over Villarreal in Wednesday’s semi-final first leg showdown at Anfield. 

After a goalless first half, Pervis Estupinan deflected Jordan Henderson's cross inside his own net to give the Reds a 53rd minute lead.

With the Yellow Submarine still reeling from having conceded, the Senegal international doubled the hosts' advantage just 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 Mane who poked it 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 competition (during the 2017-18 season), only Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema (16) has more knockout stage goals than Mane.

Interestingly, there were just 133 seconds between Liverpool opening the scoring and adding a second through the former Southampton man.

Should Mane find the net in the reverse fixture at the Estadio de la Ceramica, the 30-year-old 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 an 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.

As things stand, the Egypt international is just three behind both Drogba and Sergio Aguero's record for the most goals netted in the Champions League for an English side (36 goals each).

For the La Liga side, Bayern Munich-slaying Samuel Chukwueze played for 72 minutes before making way for Senegal’s Boulaye Dia. At the same time, Cote d’Ivoire’s Serge Aurier was introduced for Dani Parejo.

Elsewhere, Algeria international Aissa Mandi was an unused against the English Premier League outfit.