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West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester United.

Premier League.

West Bromwich Albion 0

    Manchester United 2

    • Z Ibrahimovic (5th minute, 56th minute)

    West Brom 0-2 Manchester United: Zlatan Ibrahimovic double downs Baggies

    Charlotte Marsh

    Sunday 18 December 2016 07:09, UK

    West Brom 0-2 Manchester Utd

    A Zlatan Ibrahimovic double was enough for Manchester United to see off West Brom 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday evening.

    The striker - who has now scored seven goals in his last six league appearances - netted at the start of each half, nodding home in the fifth minute before scoring his second 11 minutes into the second period. 

    Wayne Rooney was denied the chance to equalise Sir Bobby Charlton's United record scoring tally by the crossbar in the first half, with West Brom offering little in terms of a reply.

    United remain sixth but have now pulled away from the chasing pack - with the Baggies leading the charge in seventh - and are now level on 30 points with fifth-placed Tottenham. 

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United (C) celebrates scoring his side's second goal v West Brom, Premier League
    Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice at The Hawthorns on Saturday evening

    The visitors did not waste their time in getting on the scoresheet, striking with less than five minutes on the clock. Jesse Lingard showed his pace on the wing, getting away down the right flank to send a pin-point cross into the box which found the head of Ibrahimovic to nod home.

    Craig Dawson cleared another dangerous right-wing cross from the path of Wayne Rooney three minutes later, before West Brom went close at the other end but no one was at the back post to meet a darting Chris Brunt corner.

    Claudio Yacob of West Brom Albion (L) is fouled by Man United's Ander Herrera
    Image: Claudio Yacob is fouled by Ander Herrera during the first half

    Rooney remains one goal away from Charlton's club record 249 goals, but went close to nabbing the equalising goal in the 24th minute. Paul Pogba slid in Lingard on the left-hand side who then found Rooney at the top of the box but the United captain's fierce half-volley was pushed onto the crossbar by Ben Foster.

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    There was controversy not long after, as Ibrahimovic and Craig Dawson rose together for a high challenge with the United striker appearing to use his shoulder to send the defender tumbling to the ground. There were shouts from the crowd for a red card, but referee Anthony Taylor only produced a yellow. 

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic heads Man United into the lead against West Brom
    Image: Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic heads Man Utd into the lead against West Brom

    West Brom's best effort of the half came just after the half an hour mark as Matt Phillips surged down the left flank, crossing in for the head of Rondon - who netted a hat-trick of headers in midweek - but he could not get his effort on target and it flashed wide.

    United went close again in the final minute of the half, as a miss hit volley from Matteo Darmian found its way into the path of Lingard who was unmarked in the area - but his own shot fired well wide of the post as the visitors took their lead into the break.

    WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match
    Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's first goal

    It took just 11 minutes in the second period for United to add their second, with Ibrahimovic again finding the net. Rooney found the Swedish striker on the right side of the box who then wriggled his way through a number of white shirts before going for goal, with the ball taking a deflection off Dawson on the way past Foster.

    Tempers flared in the 66th minute as Marcos Rojo and Salomon Rondon clashed and West Brom were arguably lucky to keep their striker on the pitch. The two were involved in a challenge on the right of the United box, with the defender expressing his anger at the incident with the Baggies man as they had a heated exchange, leading to Rondon lightly slapping Rojo.

    WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United (C) scores his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Wes
    Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores his and United's second goal at The Hawthorns

    Players surrounded the two and referee Anthony Taylor in the aftermath, but each received a yellow card for the incident.

    There was little in terms of chances for the remainder of the half, although substitute Marcus Rashford nearly added a third late on but his thunderous shot from the middle of the box was deflected wide by Gareth McAuley as United comfortably saw out the victory.

    Player ratings

    West Brom: Foster (7), Dawson (7), McAuley (7), Olsson (6), Nyom (6), Fletcher (6), Yacob (4), Brunt (6), Chadli (4), Phillips (7), Rondon (5). 

    Subs used: Morrison (5), Robson-Kanu (4), Leko (4).

    Man Utd: de Gea (5), Valencia (7), Jones (6), Rojo (7), Darmian (6), Herrera (7), Carrick (7), Pogba (7), Lingard (7), Ibrahimovic (8), Rooney (7). 

    Subs used: Rashford (6), Fellaini (5), Smalling (n/a).

    Man of the match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic