Sebastien Haller scored four goals as Ajax Amsterdam picked apart Portuguese hosts Sporting Lisbon for a one-sided 5-1 victory at the start of their Champions League Group C campaign on Wednesday.
The tall striker, bought for £45million by West Ham in 2019 but offloaded for £25m in January this year, netted twice in the opening 10 minutes to set Ajax on their way, and completed his hat-trick early in the second half before adding another goal just after the hour mark at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.
Steven Berghuis claimed his first goal for his new club to add to the tally while Paulinho got the home teamâs consolation.
The combination of winger Antony and Haller proved lethal as Ajax got off to a dream start in the second minute, with the Brazilian’s shot deflected on to the post and Haller dipping his head to get to the rebound.
Antony’s run down the right set up Haller’s second after nine minutes before Paulinho pulled one back in the 33rd minute with an angled shot that Ajax goalkeeper Remko Pasveer let slip under his body.
Berghuis ensured a 3-1 half-time lead with a polished side-foot finish but Paulinho had the ball in the Ajax net straight after the break only to be ruled offside after a VAR check.
Haller, whom Ajax forgot to register for European club competition last season in an embarrassing administrative botch-up, then added two more in the 51st and 63rd minutes.
Jude Bellingham produced an inspired individual performance as he scored one goal and set up the other to help Borussia Dortmund to a 2-1 win at Besiktas in their Champions League Group C opener on Wednesday.
and left his marker flat-footed to set up striker Erling Haaland for the second on the stroke of halftime.
Centre back Francisco Montero pulled one back for the home side deep into stoppage time.
Besiktas dominated the opening stages as Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel tipped over a Michy Batshuayi shot but his opposite number Ersin Destanoglu was the busier of the two for the rest of the contest.
Destanoglu was powerless as Dortmund took the lead when Bellingham capped a classy move with a clinical first-time shot through the keeper’s legs after Thomas Meunier volleyed a long cross-field pass into the youngster’s stride.
Haaland then missed a sitter as he blazed over an empty goal from close range and Destanoglu twice denied Marco Reus before Bellingham produced another moment of breathtaking individual skill to feed Haaland.
Bellingham bedazzled his marker on the left flank and raced past him although he was being tugged before he squared the ball to Haaland, who was left with a simple task of tapping it into an empty net from six metres.
Dortmund missed several chances after the break as livewire Bellingham was denied by Destanoglu having beaten two markers with a mazy run and the keeper also kept out a close-range shot from Haaland midway through the second half.
The visitors were guilty of some wasteful finishing in the closing stages as Meunier shot straight at Destanoglu before substitute Ansgar Knauff shaved the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
Besiktas took advantage to score a consolation as Montero beat Kobel with a thumping header after Miralem Pjanic floated an inch-perfect free kick into the heart of the penalty area.
Sheriff Tiraspol enjoyed a dream Champions League debut as Moldova’s first group-stage representatives stunned Shakhtar Donetsk with a 2-0 victory at the Sheriff Stadion on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s Shakhtar dominated possession but the hosts took their chances when they came, Adama Traore steering in a 16th-minute volley before Momo Yansane headed home midway through the second half.
Sheriff, from the unrecognised breakaway state of Transnistria, came through four rounds of qualifying to become the first Moldovan team to play in the group phase of Europe’s elite club competition.