Gabriel Barbosa scored the first hat-trick of his senior club career in Santos’ 5-1 victory over Luverdense in the Copa do Brasil on Thursday.
The Inter loanee continued his solid form since returning to Brazil on a temporary deal in January, taking his tally to eight in 16 appearances with a treble at the Vila Belmiro.
Gabriel got off the mark by heading home Victor Ferraz’s cross to cancel out Itaqui’s opener, and he claimed an opportunistic second after the hour mark.
The 21-year-old completed his hat-trick in the 68th minute by slotting home a low, right-wing delivery from Ferraz with his trailing foot.
“We never forget the first hat-trick, right?” Gabriel posted on Twitter, alongside footage of his exploits.
The result provided a boost for Santos following a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Gremio in the Campeonato Brasileiro on Sunday, which led to protests from a section of supporters prior to the Copa clash.
“I’m very happy. We were able to have a good game and create a lot of chances,” said Gabriel in quotes reported by Globo Esporte.
“What happened in the last game was a rarity, we’ve not lost by more than two goals this year. Our team was outraged by the defeat, but these things happen.
“Football is like this. We conceded five and today [Thursday] we scored five. Life is like that too.
“If the fans support us, it will be much better.”
Gabriel failed to establish himself at Inter following a reported €25million move in August 2016 and had a loan spell at Benfica cut short to enable him to rejoin Santos for one year.