Zlatan Ibrahimovic put Saint-Etienne to the sword with a hat-trick as Manchester United beat the French club 3-0 in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday, 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.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had a hand in 18 goals in 17 appearances at Old Trafford this season (12 goals, six assists).
- Jose Mourinho has kept five consecutive clean sheets as a manager for the first time since November 2011 when he was Real Madrid boss.
- Goalkeeper Sergio Romero has kept six consecutive clean sheets for United and hasn’t conceded a goal since an Alex Revell penalty for Northampton in September 2016.
- The Red Devils have won three consecutive European games without conceding a goal for the first time since November 2010 under Sir Alex Ferguson.
- Despite not registering their first shot until the 30th minute, Saint-Etienne had 11 shots in the first half, the most by an opponent at Old Trafford in the first half of a match since Athletic Bilbao had 13 in March 2013.