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Manchester United 3-0 Saint Etienne: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores hat-trick to put United in control

Manchester United 3-0 Saint Etienne: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores hat-trick to put United in control


The Swedish forward, who has scored a bigger number of objectives against St Etienne than whatever other group, appreciated another beneficial night against the Ligue 1 side, opening the scoring with a diverted free-kick on 15 minutes. 

He tapped home his second from short proximity with 15 minutes to go and fixed his treble - the seventeenth of his profession - from the punishment spot (88) after he was fouled by Kevin Theophile-Catherine.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates with Anthony Martial
Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates with Anthony Martial
With all eyes on the Pogba brothers, playing against each other for the first time in competitive football, Ibrahimovic stole the show, taking his record against St Etienne to 17 goals in 14 appearances.

The result puts United in a strong position to advance to the last-16 of the Europa League ahead of the return leg in France next Wednesday.

Jose Mourinho named a strong team, making two changes from their victory over Watford as Paul Pogba lined up against older brother Florentin.

The St Etienne left-back was part of an unchanged XI for Christophe Galtier and the French side almost capitalised on a sloppy United start inside three minutes.

Eric Bailly's blind backpass presented an opening to Romain Hamouma but with Sergio Romero out of position the forward failed to find a team-mate.

Instead, the hosts took the lead thanks to a huge slice of fortune when Ibrahimovic's free-kick, awarded for a questionable foul on the Swede, clipped Vincent Pajot in the wall and wrong-footed Stephane Ruffier
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored more goals against St Etienne than any other team
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored more goals against St Etienne than any other team
In an open first half the two sides then traded chances as Ruffier, impressive in goal for the visitors, made smart stops from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial.
But St Etienne forced the majority of opportunities as half-time approached, ending the half with 11 shots on goal, the most by an opponent at Old Trafford since Athletic Bilbao had 13 in March 2013.
They were denied a penalty when Daley Blind tangled with Jorginho and went close through the lively Hamouma and Newcastle loanee Henri Saivet.
Paul Pogba had a good game for Manchester United in midfield
Paul Pogba had a good game for Manchester United in midfield
Despite fading after the break, the visitors had a fantastic chance to equalise before Ibrahimovic's second.
Ole Selnaes picked out fellow substitute Nolan Roux but the forward could only lift his effort over the bar with Romero to beat.
Paul Pogba also went close to scoring with a second-half header
Paul Pogba also went close to scoring with a second-half header
United swiftly took advantage when Ibrahimovic tapped in from close range after fine work by Marcus Rashford.
And the former Paris Saint-Germain forward, who also saw a header correctly ruled out for offside, sealed his hat-trick from the penalty spot with two minutes to play.
He went to ground under Theophile-Catherine's soft challenge and picked himself up to send Ruffier the wrong way from 12 yards.
It capped an impressive second half by the hosts, who also hit the woodwork through Pogba, setting them up for the second leg in St Etienne next week.

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