Salzburg 6-2 Genk: Haaland scores stunning first-half hat-trick

Erling Haaland became only the eighth player to score three times on Champions League debut as Salzburg thrashed Genk.

Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring against Genk.

Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring against Genk.   -  Getty Images

Teenager Erling Haaland announced himself on the European stage with a stunning first-half Champions League hat-trick as Salzburg thrashed Genk 6-2.

The 19-year-old, son of ex-Manchester City and Leeds United defender Alf-Inge Haaland, became only the eighth player to score three times on debut in Europe's elite competition.

Hwang Hee-chan, Dominik Szoboszlai and Andreas Ulmer were also on target for the Austrian champion as it moved top of Group E.

Norway international Haaland, who had already scored 14 times domestically heading into the match, took just two minutes to open his Champions League account when he fired low into the left corner from inside the box.

READ: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool: Mertens and Llorente down Champions League holder

He soon doubled the side's advantage when a quickfire counter-attack ended with the teenager being sent clean through and he made no mistake, tucking confidently inside the right post.

A poor Genk clearance was then punished as Hwang steered a shot low inside the right post after being fed by Zlatko Junuzovic. 

Genk gave itself a glimmer of hope five minutes before the interval courtesy of a sliding finish from Colombia defender Jhon Lucumi after Salzburg had failed to deal with a set-piece.

However, two quickfire Salzburg goals - the first a close-range finish from Haaland to complete his hat-trick before Dominik Szoboszlai converted Takumi Minamino's cross - ensured the contest was over before the break.

Haaland became the first teenager to score more than once on his Champions League debut since Wayne Rooney's hat-trick for Manchester United against Fenerbahce in September 2004.

Mbwana Samatta's header pulled one back for the visitor, yet Ulmer restored the four-goal advantage midway through the second half with a tidy finish after good work again from Junuzovic.

Samatta was initially shown a red card for a challenge on Junuzovic only for the decision to be overtuned by VAR.

What does it mean? 

Despite this being a hugely impressive result for Salzburg, it still faces an uphill struggle to qualify from a group also including European champion Liverpool and Napoli. This result shows it will be no pushover, however, and could be capable of causing an upset, particularly at home.

Haaland heroics won't go unnoticed 

Any hope Salzburg had of keeping its prized asset under wraps is certainly gone now. Haaland well and truly announced himself on the European stage with a devastating display in front of goal that is sure to have caught the eye of the continent's big guns.

Wooden spoon awaits Genk

Given the other sides in the group, bottom spot surely awaits Genk. The gulf in class between them and Salzburg means a tortuous campaign is likely to lie ahead for the Belgian side. 

Key Opta Facts

- Salzburg scored more goals in the opening 45 minutes (five) than it did through the entirety of its last Champions League campaign back in 1994-95 (four goals in six games).
- Genk (P13 W0 D7 L6), has now played more Champions League matches without ever winning than any other side in the competition's history. 
- The eight goals scored between Salzburg and Genk is the joint-highest number of goals scored in a Champions League MD1 encounter along with Hamburg 4-4 Juventus in 2000-01 and Olympiacos 6-2 Bayer Leverkusen in 2002-03.
- Haaland - aged 19 years and 58 days - is the third-youngest player to score a Champions League hat-trick, behind Raul (18y 113d in 1995) and Wayne Rooney (18y 340d in 2004).


What's next? 

A trip to Anfield awaits Salzburg on Champions League matchday two on October 2. Things could get interesting if it earns a result on Merseyside. Genk, meanwhile, faces a Napoli side buoyed by that win over Liverpool.

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