Eliesse Ben Seghir, 17, scores stunning brace on league debut for Monaco
There are league debuts, and then there are league debuts à la Eliesse Ben Seghir.
The 17-year-old scored twice, including a superb long-range effort, as he came off the bench to help Monaco beat AJ Auxerre 3-2 in Ligue 1 on Wednesday.
The teenager is yet to be added to the first-team squad on Monaco’s website but you would never have guessed it in the way he took center stage against Auxerre.
With the team drawing 1-1 at half time, Monaco manager Philippe Clement made three changes including throwing Ben Seghir’s into the mix for his first Ligue 1 appearance.
The French attacking midfielder, who wore number 44, came through the club’s academy and only turned professional at the start of the season.
Ben Seghir made a very late substitute appearance in the Europa League in November but has really introduced himself to the world with this brilliant performance against Auxerre.
His first goal came just 13 minutes into his league debut, as he slotted the ball past the goalkeeper after being played through by Aleksandr Golovin.
If his first effort was efficiently taken, his second goal demonstrated that Monaco looks to have unearthed another star in the making.
With the scores level at 2-2, Ben Seghir received the ball on the left before cutting inside and unleashing a brilliant effort which whistled past the keeper and settled into the bottom corner of the net in the 85th minute.
You could see the pure elation on the teenager’s face as he wheeled away in celebration with his teammates.
“I am absolutely not surprised,” Monaco defender Malang Sarr said, according to the club’s website.
“He is a player who is not afraid to try and who takes responsibility. At that age, it’s something impressive.
“We are very happy to have a youngster like that because with this talent he has he can get us out of difficult situations like tonight.
“I hope he will enjoy his evening because it is his evening. We are happy for him.”
According to Opta, Ben Seghir became the second youngest player to score a double for Monaco in Ligue 1, after France legend Thierry Henry.
At 17 years and 315 days, Ben Seghir also became the fifth youngest player to score for the club in Ligue 1, behind superstar Kylian Mbappé, Pietro Pellegri, Henry and Benoît Badiashile, according to Monaco.
Ben Seghir will hope his heroics will be enough to earn a start in his side’s next match against Brest on Sunday.