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UEL: Heroic Zlatan bags hat-trick as Manchester United defeat St. Etienne

UEL: Heroic Zlatan bags hat-trick as Manchester United defeat St. Etienne

A superb performance by Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the difference as Manchester United defeated a highly determined French side St. Etienne in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first-leg fixture.

UEL: Heroic Zlatan bags hat-trick as Manchester United defeat St. Etienne

Zlatan celebrates his third goal

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The Swede netted a hat-trick to put his side in vantage position ahead of the return fixture in France on Wednesday, February 22.

The 35-year-old opened the scoring from a freekick in the 15th minute when he struck into the far post as goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier had no chance.

The visitors then raised their game in a bid to get the crucial away goal but United’s number one shot stopper Sergio Romero pulled brilliant saves ad both teams went into the break with United leading 1 – 0.

UEL: Heroic Zlatan bags hat-trick as Manchester United defeat St. Etienne

Manchester United's Paul Pogba (R) exchanging pleasantries with his brother Florentin after the game

Knowing one goal might not be enough ahead of the reverse fixture, United ran riot in the second half and were rewarded with a brilliant goal when Zlatan's got his 2nd goal of the night against the visitors in the 75th minute.

Checkout full EUROPA LEAGUE results here

Zlatan completed his hat-trick via the penalty spot after he was fouled in the area. He stepped-up and buried the ball into the corner.

UEL: Heroic Zlatan bags hat-trick as Manchester United defeat St. Etienne

The moment referee awarded the penalty

A fourth would really rub salt in the wounds as Paul Pogba sent a free-kick over the wall and inches wide. It ended; Manchester United 3 – 0 St. Etienne.

The return leg will be played on February 22.

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