Football’s Five-Goal Fantasticos – The Players Who Scored Five or More Goals in a Match

On the 27th of February 2024, Erling Haaland banged home five goals for Manchester City against Luton in the fifth round of the FA Cup. This is the same Erling Haaland who was being written off because he had missed a few chances and had “only” managed three goals in six Premier League games – obviously an outrageously terrible return! Forget the fact that he had missed two months of football due to injury!

Haaland has broken so many records already in his young career and in putting the Hatters to the sword he became the first City player to net five goals in a game more than once. Not bad considering he is in only his second season with the club and remains just 23 years of age. However, the Norwegian beast is not the focus of this article, and instead we intend to look at some other notable occasions when a player has bagged five goals in a game.

As we shall see, Haaland’s fantastic five was not an FA Cup first, and, in fact, players have in the past even bagged more than five in matches in the competition. Duane Derby netted six for Hull in the opening round of the competition (in a replay) back in 1996. And the record, incredibly, is a massive nine goals, plundered by Ted MacDougall for Bournemouth against Margate in the first round in 1971. However, just as this article is not about Haaland, nor is it about the FA Cup, so let’s broaden our horizons, starting with the biggest stage of all.

Oleg Salenko Stands Alone on World Cup Stage

Oleg Salenko
Oleg Salenko (Oleg Dubyna, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia)

Several players have managed four goals in a single game at a World Cup finals tournament, the first to do so being Ernst Willimowski, for Poland, back in 1938, against Brazil no less. But only one has ever bagged five, or “done a Haaland” as it could come to be called if the City striker keeps recording five-goal games!

At the 1994 World Cup Russian striker Oleg Salenko, who also played for Ukraine, made history by scoring five goals against Cameroon. Russia won that match 6-1, Salenko scoring after 15, 41, 44, 72 and 75 minutes, with Dmitri Radchenko adding the sixth in the 81st minute. Cameroon legend Roger Milla scored for the Africans.

That single scoring fiesta, in addition to an earlier penalty against Sweden, was enough to make Salenko the tournament’s joint-top scorer, despite Russia failing to exit the group stage. The clash with Cameroon was Salenko’s last for Russia, leaving him with the very respectable stats of six goals from eight games for the country!

Premier League’s Five-Goal Club

Andy Cole
Andy Cole (Norio NAKAYAMA, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikipedia)

Since the English top flight rebranded in 1992, five players have recorded five goals in a single Premier League game, though nobody has ever managed more than that. At the time of writing that is (we suspect there is every chance a certain Viking-esque forward could break that record before too long).

Andy Cole was the first to achieve the feat, doing so against Ipswich as Man United routed the Suffolk outfit 9-0 in 1995. The Premier League’s highest-ever goalscorer, Alan Shearer (260 goals in 441 games), also netted five, his goalfest coming against Sheffield Wednesday in an 8-0 win in 1999.

Jermain Defoe banged in five against Wigan in the 2009/10 campaign, his feat unique in that all five goals came in the second half. The match had been in the balance at 1-0 after the first half but ended 9-1 to Spurs! The second Man United player on this list is Dimitar Berbatov, who helped the Red Devils beat Blackburn 7-1, scoring 71% of the goals in November 2010.

The most recent five-goal hitman was City’s Sergio Aguero, the Argentine achieving the feat in October 2015. He got five of City’s six as they hammered Newcastle 6-1, though it is surely only a matter of time before he is joined as a City player on this list by you know who.

Champions League Five-Goal Forwards

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi (vverve /

The UEFA Champions League is arguably the highest standard of football in the world, so some would suggest that netting five in a single game in the competition is harder than doing so at the World Cup, Euros, or in any domestic league. Even so, three players have accomplished the feat, and they are:

  • Lionel Messi – probably the greatest of all time, Messi banged in five for Barcelona against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012. He did so in the last 16 phase of the 2011/12 CL campaign.
  • Luiz Adriano – Brazilian striker Adriano helped Shakhtar Donetsk beat BATE Borisov 7-0 in 2014 during the group phase of the competition.
  • Erling Haaland – City’s powerful marksman is the most recent member of the UCL Five-Goal Superclub after he helped the Manchester side destroy RB Leipzig 7-0 in March 2023.

Other Notable Five-Goal Hauls

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo (canno73 /

We couldn’t leave Cristiano Ronaldo off this list as he’d probably get upset given Messi’s presence. The Portuguese legend netted his own five-goal salvo against Granada for Real Madrid in 2015. Los Blancos won 9-1 but the incredible thing about CR7’s blitz was that it included an 18-minute treble and all five goals were squeezed into a frantic 35 minutes.

Perhaps an even more incredible five-goal haul came from Polish forward Robert Lewandowski. Bayern Munich trailed Wolfsburg 1-0 at the break and so Lewandowski was brought on at half time. He is a great striker but nobody can have quite expected the impact he would make. Not only did he manage the fastest hat-trick in Bundesliga history (just five minutes), but he notched all five of his team’s goals in the 5-1 victory in the space of just nine minutes!

Anyone who timed a trip to the bar badly could have left their seat at 0-1 after 50 minutes and returned at 60 minutes with the game at 5-1! The striker netted his goals after 51, 52, 55, 57 and 60 minutes. Wow!