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Ibrahimovic guides Manchester United to 2-0 win over Southampton



Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to help Manchester United earn their second-straight win to open the Premier League, 2-0 over Southampton on Friday night. All eyes were on Paul Pogba for his return to Old Trafford after four years with Juventus, but it was Ibrahimovic — United’s other major summer signing — who stole the show with a first-half header and a penalty after the break.

Pogba’s first touch went astray and led to a Southampton break and a free kick, but it came to nothing and the Frenchman was able to settle any nerves. Southampton were forced into an early change when Oriel Romeu left with an apparent injury and was replaced by Jordy Clasie in just the 12th minute.

Pogba then had his first shot, though it was straight at Fraser Forster, and Southampton showed they were up to the challenge as Shane Long’s shot hit the side-netting. Ibrahimovic put the Saints on notice in the 29th minute when he twisted to reach Juan Mata’s headed pass, but his overhead effort was over the bar.

But seven minutes later Ibrahimovic was on target when Wayne Rooney chased the ball into the corner and crossed for the striker to hit with a powerful header from 12 yards out.

Pogba wowed the crowd before half-time with a long run while dancing around defenders around the top of the box, and United entered the break with a 1-0 lead.

Southampton thought they had an equaliser four minutes into the second half when Dusan Tadic headed home, but it was ruled out for offside.

However, United were soon gifted a second goal when Clasie clumsily tripped up Luke Shaw, and Ibrahimovic made no mistake from the spot with a low shot into the corner.

Ibrahimovic could have completed a hat trick but couldn’t keep his header down after good work from Antonio Valencia on the wing.

Pogba ended up playing the full 90 minutes despite not featuring at all in preseason and blasted a shot wide of the post in stoppage time. With fellow new signing Eric Bailly also impressing in defence, United saw out the final minutes without incident to earn six points in as many days.

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