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ZLAT TRICK

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores first MLS hat trick to lead LA Galaxy to dramatic comeback win

Swedish star took charge of encounter with Galaxy down 2-1 against Orlando City, celebrating in typically profound style after lashing in winning goal to seal hat trick

Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbed his first MLS hat trick on Sunday night as he led LA Galaxy to a dramatic comeback win against Orlando City.

The former Manchester United man celebrated his first two goals, both headers, in muted fashion before letting loose when he lashed in the game’s winning goal to seal his first Stateside treble.

Ibrahimovic had a hand in all four Galaxy goals as they came from behind three times to beat Orlando 4-3 and extended their unbeaten run to nine.


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Ibrahimovic’s first goal came shortly after half-time, pulling Galaxy level at 2-2

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Ibrahimovic’s first goal came shortly after half-time, pulling Galaxy level at 2-2

The Swede went horizontal with a bullet header for his second goal

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The Swede went horizontal with a bullet header for his second goal

A thunderous volley gave him his first hat trick in the US

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A thunderous volley gave him his first hat trick in the US

Down 2-1 at half-time, Zlatan nodded in a deep cross 100 seconds into the second period in front of his adoring fans at the Galaxy’s StubHubCenter.

Dom Dwyer put struggling Orlando back in front minutes later before the 36-year-old flew through the air to power home a diving header and make it 3-3.

Five minutes afterwards he was at it again to complete the hat trick, collecting a loose ball 12 yards out and volleying into the far corner before his renowned taste for a spectacular celebration came to the surface.

Zlatan celebrated by whipping off his shirt

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Zlatan celebrated by whipping off his shirt

Off with the shirt and out came the famous tattooed torso.

It is his first treble since netting all three goals in United’s 3-0 Europa League win over Saint Etienne in February 2017.

Zlatan now has 15 goals in his first 17 MLS games, vaulting him up to second in the 2018 Golden Boot race, although he is still far behind Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez, who leads the way with 24.

The win takes Galaxy third in the Western Conference, one point behind city rivals LAFC in the chase for an automatic spot in the play-off semi-finals.

It is his first hat trick in 17 months

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It is his first hat trick in 17 months

He was mobbed by his teammates as he celebrated what turned out to be the game’s winning goal

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He was mobbed by his teammates as he celebrated what turned out to be the game’s winning goal

Orlando, losing their 12th game in 13, now sit ninth in the 11-team Eastern Conference.

It is the 20th Galaxy hat trick in franchise history, the most of any MLS team.

Zlatan, who also notched an assist when he slipped in Gio dos Santos in the first half, has been a huge hit in the States since terminating his Manchester United contract in March to join LA.

This month he claimed he ‘would be president’ of the country by now, had he made the switch ten years ago.

There were similar celebrations on his Galaxy debut, when he netted twice off the bench including a last-minute winner against rivals LAFC

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There were similar celebrations on his Galaxy debut, when he netted twice off the bench including a last-minute winner against rivals LAFC

Ibrahimovic also assisted Gio dos Santos’ first-half goal

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Ibrahimovic also assisted Gio dos Santos’ first-half goal

Despite his roaring success in the States, Zlatan will miss this week’s MLS All-Star clash with Juventus.

Hinting at a potential injury that will keep him out of the weekend’s Galaxy game against Colorado Rapids, he said: “I am disappointed to miss the 2018 All-Star game against Juventus, one of my former clubs.

“I want to thank the fans for voting me to the team.

“My main focus is to score goals and help the LA Galaxy to the play-offs.”


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