Man United comfortably beat Saint-Etienne in the first leg of their last-32 of the Europa League, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring his first hat-trick for the club.
In the 15th minute, Ibrahimovic hit a free-kick which was deflected, and wrong-footed goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier. It somehow dribbled over the line, with Ruffier and the defenders trying to stop it. United tested Ruffier quite a few times. He made a double save to deny Juan Mata. Saint-Etienne were causing problems for United, especially on the break with their pace. Henri Saivet and Nolan Roux both had efforts off target.
Anthony Martial forced Ruffier into several saves. Paul Pogba had a really good chance, but he headed against the bar from close range. In this game, Pogba was playing against his brother Florentin. Ruffier played well, but it was his parry into the danger area which allowed the second goal. Marcus Rashford had done some good work, before that and Ibrahimovic scored his second.
Saint-Etienne had 14 shots on goal, but failed to force Sergio Romero into a single save. In the 88th minute, Ibrahimovic got fouled for a penalty. He put away the penalty. It was his first hat-trick for United, but his 17th in his career. It was also his 23rd goal of the season. Any question marks over the veteran striker have surely been banished after his prolific season so far. Saint-Etienne will be glad to see the back of him when he retires as he has scored 17 times against them during his career.
United have never won this competition, but they have a good chance this year. They also have a good chance of winning a cup treble, with the EFL Cup final next Sunday and they are in the last 16 of the FA Cup. The second leg is on Wednesday, the 22 February.
Next up for United they are playing Blackburn Rovers in the last 16 of the FA Cup. Hopefully they can get through into the next round.