Late show #2

Ibra soars for Galaxy with superb brace on his debut

Zlatan Ibrahimovic revealing his unbridled joy after scoring his first goal for the LA Galaxy. The Swede also scored the winner in a comeback 4-3 win over Los Angeles FC.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic revealing his unbridled joy after scoring his first goal for the LA Galaxy. The Swede also scored the winner in a comeback 4-3 win over Los Angeles FC.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Major League Soccer (MLS) was rebranded MLZ on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Instagram page on Saturday, but even the larger-than-life footballer could not have written a better script on his debut.

The 36-year-old made his first Los Angeles Galaxy appearance off the bench, having flown in on a 10-hour flight on Thursday. He took just six minutes to announce his arrival.

The 71st-minute substitute lashed home an imperious volley from 40 yards to make it 3-3 against Los Angeles FC (LAFC) at the StubHub Centre.

The Swede then headed home Ashley Cole's cross in stoppage time to seal a 4-3 win for the Galaxy in an extraordinary finale that lived up to the hype surrounding the striker's arrival from Manchester United.

"If you look back, every team I played for, I scored in my first official game. I wasn't going to let that stop today," said the former Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain star.

"I heard the crowd saying 'We want Zlatan, we want Zlatan'. And I gave them Zlatan."

LAFC had surged into a 3-0 lead early in the second half after two goals from Carlos Vela and an own goal from Daniel Steres.

But, by the end of the game, Vela was a footnote, Ibrahimovic the headline even if Sebastian Lletget and Chris Pontius also scored for the Galaxy.

Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid hailed Ibrahimovic's first goal as "world class" .

"Ibrahimovic is the perfect definition of a guy who always dares to be brilliant," the German said.

"If you do that, you can pull off things. That's a goal that will go around the world."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2018, with the headline 'Ibra soars for Galaxy with superb brace on his debut'. Print Edition | Subscribe