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Poker-faced Falcao hungry for more

Falcao took his tally to a record-equalling 15 goals in the UEFA Europa League with four in a remarkable 5-1 victory over Villarreal CF on Thursday, though he warned "I'm not done yet."

Poker-faced Falcao hungry for more
Poker-faced Falcao hungry for more ©UEFA.com

Falcao warned "I'm not done yet" after the first four-goal haul of his career, equalling a record held by Jürgen Klinsmann and helping FC Porto take a giant stride towards the UEFA Europa League final in the process.

"I will never forget tonight – it's like a dream come true," the in-form Colombian striker said after a 5-1 victory over Villarreal CF. "It was the first 'poker' (the Iberian term for a four-goal haul) of my career. But above all, I'm satisfied I've helped my team achieve their objective. This was a team effort and every single player gave their all for the collective good."

That may be true, but few would begrudge Falcao the acclaim having contributed four of the goals as Porto overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit in spectacular fashion. He has received a fair bit of praise this season: his endeavours in the semi-final first leg took him to 12 goals in the Portuguese champions' last six outings, equalling Jürgen Klinsmann's 1995/96 record of 15 goals in a UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup campaign in the process.

"I'm aware I'm now level with Klinsmann and that makes me very proud," the 25-year-old told UEFA.com. "But I'm not done yet." Nor, he cautions are Villarreal, highlighting their 5-1 victory against FC Twente in the last round as evidence. "The tie isn't over yet. Despite this big win, we have to remain focused and calm because there's a second game to come and it will be difficult for sure. Villarreal are very good at home – as they showed against Twente. We can't ease up. We have to get past Villarreal and only then can we think about the final."

Indeed, for 45 minutes of the first leg a trip to Dublin on 18 May looked a distant prospect as Villarreal bossed the game, forging ahead through Cani just before the break. "We spoke at half-time with the coach and realised we had to change our attitude," explained Falcao. "We responded immediately after the restart – it was very important to equalise early. That allowed us to push forward and get a good result to take into the second leg."

The Spanish visitors had no answer to Porto's rampant No9 from the moment he picked himself up to beat Diego López from the penalty spot. Fredy Guarín made it 2-1 before compatriot Falcao took centre stage, turning in Hulk's cross, applying a diving header to Guarín's free-kick and then capping it all with a towering late effort. It was rousing stuff, and a significant number of youngsters stayed on for two hours after full time to tell him so as he drove out of the Estádio do Dragão.

A prolific tweeter, on Wednesday Falcao revealed to his ever-growing band of followers how an Argentinian children's television programme about a youth team, Cebollitas, made him want to be a hero. Judging by that farewell party on Thursday, he already is.

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