SEBASTIEN Haller will be bidding to continue his remarkable scoring record in this season’s Champions League when his Ajax side face Benfica in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday.
Ajax take on Benfica at the Estadio da Luz as they return to Lisbon, where Haller scored four times on his Champions League debut when the Dutch champions beat Sporting 5-1 along the road at the Jose Alvalade in September. Ivory Coast international Haller went on to score 10 times in the group stage, becoming just the second player to find the net in all six group games in a Champions League campaign after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017.
“Before the competition if you asked me if I would score that many goals of course I would say no,” Haller told Ajax TV ahead of the knockout stages of Europe’s elite club competition. “I was happy with one already. I score one goal in the Champions League and my life is done.”
Haller, who is 27, was the first player to score a quadruple on his debut in the competition since Marco van Basten in 1992 and his goals helped Ajax top their group with maximum points, beating Sporting, Borussia Dortmund and Besiktas home and away.
His tally of 10 goals puts him one ahead of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski in the competition’s scoring charts and is as many as Dortmund’s Erling Haaland managed last season when he finished as the Champions League’s leading marksman.—AFP