Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s maiden Manchester United hat-trick put St Etienne to the sword as Jose Mourinho’s men took control of this Europa League last-32 tie.
The build-up to the Old Trafford encounter was dominated by Paul Pogba’s clash with his brother Florentin Pogba, but the post-match chatter will surround United’s elder statesman.
Ibrahimovic has made a mockery of the doubters since his summer arrival and the 35-year-old took his tally for the season to 23 with a treble as United eventually saw off the threat of St Etienne 3-0.
The French side had flustered United in the early stages of this first leg but the hosts went ahead through a fortuitous Ibrahimovic free-kick – both in terms of its award and the way it deflected home off Vincent Pajot.
Paul Pogba, with his family watching from the stands, performed impressively as United improved after the break and hit the bar with a close-range header.
But this was to be Ibrahimovic’s night as he turned home at the far post and then fired home a late penalty to take his tally against St Etienne to 17 goals in 14 matches.