European football was back at Old Trafford on Thursday night, albeit only the Europa League. This Round of 32 tie, saw The Red Devils take on French Ligue 1 side Saint Etienne in what was a family affair as the brother of World Record signing Paul Pogba, came head to head against his older brother Florentin Pogba.
Mourinho’s men won this one easily, with the final score being 3-0. This was thanks in no small part to the Swedish legend that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The main focus, from the majority of the main stream media was the simple fact that for the first time ever, the Pogba brothers would be going head to head in a competitive game.
However, it was Zlatan who totally took over the show. It all started in the first half, when Zlatan scored his first goal of the evening after his free kick took a deflection. St Etienne ‘keeper Stephane Ruffier did have a good game despite conceding a treble to Ibrahimovic. Ruffier made some important stops, savings shots in the first half from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial. Had them shots gone in, Mourinho’s men would’ve been way out of sight by the interval. Thanks to Ruffier the French side went into the break 1-0 down. On the other hand, it was also a busy night for Argentinian Sergio Romero, with the visitors registering a total of 11 shots in the first half. It was a miracle the score remained 1-0 at the break.
St. Etienne began to fade away in the second half, even though they didn’t start all that brightly. With United having several chances to score a second. They thought they did but the linesman had his flag up to cancel out an Ibrahimovic goal. The visitors almost grabbed an equaliser when Nolan Roux, chipped over Romero but sent the ball over the goal. United scored their second of the evening just after surviving this scare. Substitute Marcus Rashford, ran the ball to the byline before he cut it back only for the ball to find a waiting Zlatan who pounced on the opportunity and slotted home his second of the night for 2-0. The hat trick was completed in the 88th minute, when Zlatan himself was brought down by Theophile-Catherine. Having won the penalty, Zlatan would take it and he scored sending the ‘keeper the wrong way to seal his first hat trick for Manchester United. United won this first leg 3-0.
3-0 is a good strong result for the Red Devils, I don’t see St Etienne getting back into this one even with the second leg being in their ground. United should easily make the last 16.