Despite playing the majority of Thursday night’s Europa League clash with just a one-goal advantage, Manchester United always seemed in control and will now surely advance to the last 16 barring a major upset in France in the return leg next week.
Two set-piece goals and one well-worked cross were enough for Jose Mourinho’s men to record a 3-0 victory, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic being the marksman for all three goals.
His first strike, a deflected free-kick, was followed late in the second half with a tap in from three yards out before his 88-minute penalty sealed victory for United.
Next up is an FA Cup tie away to Blackburn this weekend, where the Old Trafford club will aim to keep alive their hopes of winning all the cup competitions they’ve entered this term.
Watch all three of United’s goals below.
— Tcm (@Challengeman123) February 16, 2017
— All United Goals (@AllUnitedGoals) February 16, 2017
— Murty’s Magic Hat (@Zlatan_79) February 16, 2017
There were question marks over the signing of veteran striker Ibrahimovic on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain in the summer, but the Swede has responded by taking his tally to 23 for the season.
The 35-year-old former Juventus, Barcelona and AC Milan man has now netted 17 career hat-tricks. It was his first since joining United, his second in European competition and his third against Saint-Etienne.
“Every time I have played against Saint-Etienne, with hard work there has been a couple of goals,” Ibrahimovic said after the game. “I have scored a couple of goals tonight and hopefully I can do the same next week.”
The Ligue 1 side will be pleased to see the back of Ibrahimovic when he retires having scored 17 times against them during his career.
Ibrahimovic has 11 titles and three domestic cups to his name, but a major European trophy remains missing from his illustrious CV.