Zlatan Ibrahimovic bags brace as Manchester United win at West Brom

Manchester United moved level on points with fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, for 24 hours at least, after beating West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at The Hawthorns.

The victory, which came courtesy of two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, extended United’s unbeaten run in the Premier League to eight games, dating back to the 4-0 reverse against Chelsea on Oct. 23.

United made the perfect start when Paul Pogba switched play from left to right after receiving the ball from a Wayne Rooney throw-in. Antonio Valencia’s touch was instant and he launched a long ball down the flank after spotting the run of Jesse Lingard, who barely had to break stride before hitting a first-time cross on the half volley into the penalty area where Ibrahimovic was arriving to head home.

West Brom soon showed they could play a little too and a flowing move culminated in Craig Dawson and Chris Brunt combining well down the left to earn a corner. Brunt’s kick was met at the near post by Jonas Olsson but his glancing header spun dangerously across the six-yard box and out on the other side without anyone getting a decisive touch to the ball.

Rooney came within a whisker of doubling United’s lead midway through the first half with a powerful effort from the edge of the box but Ben Foster got a vital touch to the ball and it crashed against the crossbar.

Ibrahimovic incensed the home crowd shortly afterwards when he floored Dawson in a late aerial challenge. The home crowd were baying for a red card but replays showed the contact was made with the shoulder area rather than an elbow and referee Anthony Taylor was right to issue only a yellow.

There were opportunities at both ends before half-time as Salomon Rondon glanced a header wide from a Matt Phillips cross before Lingard had a great chance to make it 2-0 but blazed the ball over the crossbar.

United did double their lead 10 minutes into the second half and it was Ibrahimovic again, who cut inside Gareth McAuley on the left side of the penalty area before unleashing a right-footed shot which deflected off Dawson en route to finding the far bottom corner of the net.


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