Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick to break the Los Angeles Galaxy’s season scoring record in a thumping 7-2 defeat of Sporting Kansas City in the MLS on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Swedish star equalised at 1-1 after 32 minutes – scoring off the rebound as his penalty attempt was blocked by Tim Melia – to match the club record of 24 set by Carlos Ruiz in 2002.
He then broke that mark and put LA up 3-1 in the 51st minute after some typically brilliant penalty box work to trap a cross from Swiss defender Rolf Feltscher and outfox two defenders.
After the Galaxy took full control, Ibrahimovic made it 7-1 with his 26th goal of the season five minutes from time, celebrating a clinical strike from just inside the box by balancing on an advertising hoarding, with arms raised to lap up the applause of the adoring LA fans.
Joe Corona, Uriel Antuna and Sebastian Lletget (two) scored LA’s other goals, with Felipe Gutierrez scoring twice for Kansas.
Wayne Rooney made his comeback from a two-game violent conduct suspension but was not required to score in a 1-0 win to the Washington Nationals at the Portland Timbers, whose defender Bill Tuiloma scored an own goal in the 25th minute.
United have now won two straight after a three-game losing streak and sit fifth in the league’s eastern conference with three home and away games to play, with seven teams progressing to the play-offs.
The Seattle Sounders, second in the western conference, beat the New York Red Bulls 4-2 in a wild match in Seattle.
They led 2-0 thanks to Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro, but were pegged back by Aaron Long and Alejandro Romero. But Sean Davis put through his own goal (83) and Lodeiro sealed it in added time.
Toronto FC also let a two-goal lead slip before recovering for a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rapids.
Tsubasa Endoh and Alejandro Pozuelo took Toronto to a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes before Keegan Rosenberry and Sam Nicholson restored parity by the 62 minute mark.
Jonathon Osorio put the home side back in front with a neat strike from just inside the box on 70 minutes.
In Sunday’s other game, Minnesota United came from 1-0 down to score a 3-1 win over Real salt Lake, thanks to a double from Darwin Quintero and an 83rd-minute sealer from Ethan Finlay.
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An academy coach filmed Sweden icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Friday as the LA Galaxy captain gave a group of young academy players the benefit of his wisdom and experience.
The boys listened intently as the 37-year-old Swede, who has netted 23 goals for the Galaxy this season, used balls to explain some of the finer points of positioning on the pitch.
Despite Ibrahimovic’s prolific record, LA Galaxy are in danger of failing to make the MLS playoffs with five games remaining.
Listen to his advice above:
Diego Maradona reacted after losing 2-1 at home his first match as Gimnasia La Plata head coach against Racing Club Avellaneda in the Argentinian Superliga on Sunday.
“My soul hurts because I don’t think the Argentinian champions were better than us in this game” said the legendary footballer after the match.
Gimnasia are currently at the bottom of the Superliga table and haven’t won a match since last April.
Watch the icon’s reaction above: