Grafite hat-trick gives Wolfsburg dream start

WOLFSBURG - Brazilian striker Grafite made a dream Champions League debut with a hat-trick in his team's 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.

The Brazilian is desperate to shine on Europe's biggest stage as he seeks another international call-up to add to his solitary cap, with nine months to go before the 2010 World Cup.

"It was a special night, an unforgettable night," Grafite told reporters. "I just asked the referee if I can have the match ball."

"I am very happy I got three goals and it is a fantastic feeling. But we must keep our feet on the ground."

Grafite, who scored 28 goals last season to help his team win the German title, netted his first in the 35th minute when he picked up a Zvjezdan Misimovic pass to slot the ball through the legs of keeper Igor Akinfeyev.

The 30-year-old, a constant source of danger for the Russians, was pulled down in the box for no apparent reason as the ball was flying high over his head and converted the resulting penalty in the 40th.

Grafite then showed his ability in the box when he turned quickly to net his third three minutes from time.

"It was difficult this season for him so far," said Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh. "(Opponents) are marking him more closely but when you score three goals on your Champions League debut then that is superb."


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