KAA Gent produced a stunning performance to defeat Istanbul Basaksehir 5-2 on aggregate and progress to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
The Belgian side owed their triumph to the exceptional Gift Orban, who delivered a masterclass in front of goal on Wednesday night.
Orban was the star of the show, netting three goals in just three minutes at the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu to secure Gent’s place in the next round.
The 20-year-old’s remarkable feat will go down in the annals of European football as one of the most breathtaking individual displays in recent memory.
The Turkish side had entered the round of 16 tie with the advantage, having secured an impressive 1-1 draw in Belgium last week.
Basaksehir had even scored first in that encounter, with Orban equalizing to keep Gent in the tie. However, any hopes the home team had of capitalizing on their advantage were quickly dashed when Orban exploded into life in the second half.
Orban’s first goal came in the 31st minute, a cleverly placed left-footed strike that left the Basaksehir goalkeeper with no chance.
The youngster then followed it up with a potential goal of the week just a minute later before rounding off his hat trick with another fine effort in the danger area seconds later. It was his eleventh goal in his last seven games.
Hugo Cuypers made it 4-0 for Gent in the 37th minute.
Basaksehir did manage to grab a late consolation goal through former Manchester United player Adnan Januzaj, but it was too little too late as the tie was already decided.
The match will be remembered for Orban’s stunning performance, which left the home crowd stunned and the Gent faithful in raptures.
Orban’s hat-trick showing is no flash in the pan as he has been astounding for Gent since joining from Norway’s Stabaek in January.
The kid-wonder has been especially on fire in March: he scored the winner against Anderlecht, netted the equalizer versus Istanbul Basaksehir, and smashed four goals past Zulte Waregem at the weekend before Wednesday night’s hat-trick.
Interestingly, Orban has scored nine of Gent’s eleven goals this month.