Zlatan Ibrahimovic wins game for LA Galaxy in debut

April 1 (UPI) — Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic tied the score, before winning the game for the Los Angeles Galaxy in his debut Saturday against LAFC.

The 36-year-old striker officially joined Major League Soccer on March 23, coming over from Premier League power Manchester United. He made his debut after being called on as a substitute in the 71st minute of the Galaxy’s 4-3 win at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

LAFC led 3-0 before Sebastian Lletget scored the Galaxy’s first goal in the 61st minute. The Galaxy got another score from Chris Pontius in the 73rd minute, before Ibrahimovic took over.

LAFC keeper Tyler Miller sent a goal kick, which was won by Daniel Steres on a header. The ball bounced over two players before finding the Galaxy’s new addition. Ibrahimovic watched the ball fall toward the ground once more, but caught it with his laces for a volley from about 40 yards out. His strike soared over Miller and into the center of the net, tying the contest.

He ripped off his shirt in celebration and his teammates came in to embrace the international superstar. The crowd went into a trance of jubilation.

But Zlatan wasn’t finished.

English defender Ashley Cole collected the ball deep on the left side of the pitch. He hit a one-touch cross with his left foot, finding the 6-foot-5, 209-pound striker lurking in the box in the 90th minute. Ibrahimovic finished the feed with a powerful header into the far post netting for the winning score.

“The fans were demanding something, and I gave them Zlatan,” Ibrahimovic said after the match. “It was good to see the happiness in your teammates and you just want to keep going. But I was happy when the game was finished because I don’t know if I could play more.”

The Galaxy’s next clash is against Sporting KC at 9 p.m. April 8 in Carson.

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