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Ibrahimovic Leads Milan to Victory in Europa Qualifiers

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Scores One as AC Milan Progress in Europa Qualifiers

Former Manchester United and Paris-Saint Germany striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the opener to put the Italian side in front before Hakan Calhanoglu doubled the lead as they beat League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers in their Europa League qualifier in Dublin. Ibrahimovic clinically fired home from the edge of the box in the first 23 minutes of the game after playing a one-two with Calhanoglu. The Swede international hit the bar, before playing his part in a precise passing move which set up Turkey forward Calhanoglu, who scored with a tidy finish on 67.

Rovers’ Aaron Greene forced three good saves from Gianluigi Donnarumma. AC Milan goalkeeper twice denied Greene in the first half and made another fine stop after the interval at a Tallaght Stadium devoid of spectators in line with Uefa guidelines. Ibrahimovic’s first-half strike was perfectly placed as he took one touch and slammed the ball right-footed past Alan Mannus at his near post.

The 38-year-old striker almost grabbed his second when a looping shot over his head cannoned off the woodwork and then Davide Calabria’s inswinging shot forced a smart save from Mannus. The victory is a boost for the Serie A side in their first competitive fixture of their new Covid-19 delayed season.

AC Milan missed out on playing in Europe last season as they were handed a one-year ban from European football for breaching Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules. The seven-time European Cup winners finished sixth in Serie A table last season which Juventus won. AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli has been tasked with plotting the club’s way back to the highest echelons of European football.

His team will face Bodo Glimt of Norway in the third qualifying round of the Europa League next week and must then also negotiate the play-off round if they are to progress to the group stage of the competition.

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