sports gazette

Debut Delight

Published: 13 Oct 2016

Auston Matthews shook the hockey world to its core scoring four goals on his debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs, shattering a 100-year-old NHL record in the process.

The first overall draft pick, still only 19 years of age, made an instant impact scoring his first NHL goal with his very first shot against rival neighbours the Ottawa Senators.

Matthews scored again only minutes later following a play that saw him deke through the entire Senators' roster and shoot on the short side.

Moments into the second period Toronto fans witnessed their rookie notch his hat trick and become the first number one overall pick to do so. If Leaf fans were not content, within the same period the American scored yet again becoming the first rookie to score four goals on his NHL debut.

Matthews' debut has sent shock waves through the NHL and prompted Sports Gazette to look back on some similarly impressive sporting debuts.

Alvaro Recoba – Inter Milan vs. Brescia (31st August 1997)

Not many players can claim to have upstaged Ronaldo.
Arriving in the same offseason as the great Brazilian, ‘El Chino' started the game on the bench. However, after falling behind to lowly Brescia, the Uruguayan joined the game with only 20 minutes to make his mark.
Recoba scored two goals to save the home side's blushes, the first of which was struck with intense venom from 30 yards. Later, with the game seemingly in the balance, he stepped to score a trademark free kick and was immediately etched in Nerazzurri folklore.

Jermaine Pennant – Arsenal vs. Southampton (7th May 2003)

Signed by Arsenal at the tender age of 15, Pennant eventually made his full league debut two years later, claiming a hat-trick in a six-goal mauling of the Saints. Whilst the Nottingham youngster showed huge promise, the hat-trick scored against Southampton would be his only career goals in Arsenal colours. Unfortunately, he continued to slip through the ranks and now finds himself plying his trade in the Singapore S. League. However, his full league debut is bettered by few others.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang - Augsburg vs. Dortmund  (10th august 2013)

Like Auston Matthews, the man from Gabon scored on his full debut with his very first shot in his new team’s colours. In stark contrast to Pennant, Aubameyang has become a household name. As the current African Footballer of the Year it could be argued Aubameyang is now one of the top-three strikers in world football. 

Taijul Islam - Bangladesh vs. Zimbabwe (1st December 2014)

In front of a passionate Mirpur crowd, debutant bowler Taijul Islam completed the phenomenal feat of a hat-trick on his One Day International debut, becoming only the second man ever to do so.

At 24 Islam remains a mainstay in the Bangladesh bowling attack and recently claimed the wickets of Englishmen Ben Duckett and Jonny Bairstow in their narrow series defeat to Alistair Cook’s side.

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