Ismaël Fofana kicked off the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League season in style, hitting a hat-trick as Armenian title holders FC Shirak stunned San Marino’s SP Tre Penne 3-0, according to UEFA’s official website.
The home team were always in control of this first qualifying round opener and could have been ahead inside ten minutes had Dame Diop not missed from the spot following a foul by Francesco Baschetti. Fofana made no mistake 26 minutes later, though, taking receipt of Davit Hakobyan’s incisive pass and finishing unerringly beyond visiting goalkeeper Gianmarco Pazzini.
Shirak resumed the second half with the same air of authority, with Hakobyan centimetres away from turning in George Odhiambo’s corner. A second goal was nonetheless forthcoming as Fofana danced past three defenders and found the net with aplomb.
Not content with his lot, the Ivorian forward headed in Odhiambo’s pinpoint centre to complete a stylish treble and give Vardan Bichakhchyan’s charges an imposing first-leg advantage ahead of the return leg on 9 July.