Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick guides Man United past Saint Etienne

His first half free kick and a second half tap in had Jose Mourinho's side in control

Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, First Leg match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture by Martin Rickett PA Wire/PA Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick as Manchester United eased past Saint Etienne in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie.

It took 15 minutes for Man United to take the lead against the French side. Ibrahimovic, who had already scored 13 times against Saint Etienne during his time in France with Paris Saint Germain, lined up a free kick just outside the box.

It wasn't a clean effort but a deflection off the wall saw it make its way into the Saint Etienne goal. 



The veteran Swede would score his second with 15 minutes to go, shortly after Paul Pogba who was facing brother Florentin, had rattled the crossbar.

Marcus Rashford's ball in was parried by Stephane Ruffier and Ibrahimovic was on hand to apply the finish and double the United lead.

He scored his third from the penalty spot. 

The return leg will take place on February 22nd at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

In the pick of the night's early Europa League last 32 fixtures, Tottenham were defeated 1-0 at Gent.

Elsewhere, Fiorentina edged Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 away from home, Lyon thrashed Dundalk's previous group opponents AZ Alkmaar 4-1 and Shakhtar Donetsk narrowly saw off Celta Vigo 1-0 in Spain.

Arguably the standout result of the night was Roma's 4-0 hammering of Villarreal away from home, with ex-Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko netting a hat-trick to continue his good goalscoring return this season.