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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat trick carries Man United; Tottenham lose first leg

Behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic's hat trick, Man United took a commanding lead in their UEL round of 32 tie against St Etienne.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's hat trick gave Manchester United a 3-0 win against St Etienne in a Europa League round of 32 first-leg clash at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Ibrahimovic opened the scoring in unusual circumstances after 15 minutes when his free kick struck the St Etienne wall and deflected towards goal leaving St Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier wrong-footed and stranded before crawling over the line.

He added an important second in the 74th minute as substitute Marcus Rashford squared from...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Robin van Persie ban for controversial goal celebration reduced on appeal

Robin van Persie's goal celebration was deemed to be an insult to fans of the opposing team.

Fenerbahce striker Robin van Persie has had a three-game ban, for sliding on his knees in front of Besiktas captain and former Arsenal teammate Oguzhan Ozyakup, reduced to two following appeal.

The incident took place during a Turkish Cup game which Fenerbahce won 1-0 thanks to a Van Persie goal.

The former Premier League winner had earlier been involved in an altercation with Ozyakup when Besiktas defender Dusko Tosic was sent off after being adjudged to have pushed Van Persie.

When former Netherlands...

 By Eren Sarigul

Fenerbahce stoke Besiktas rivalry with controversial Robin van Persie T-shirt

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho explains why his views on the Europa League have changed.
Robin van Persie celebrated his winner against Besiktas in front of former Arsenal teammate Oguzhan Ozyakup.

Fenerbahce stoked the flames of their rivalry with Besiktas by releasing a controversial T-shirt of their striker Robin van Persie just days after winning a fiery Istanbul derby 1-0 at the Vodafone Arena.

Tensions between the two clubs were already high following the game in the Turkish Cup that saw Fenerbahce eliminate Besiktas from the round of 16.

Van Persie, 33, was involved in a particularly controversial incident in the game when Besiktas defender Dusko Tosic was sent off after squaring up...

Demba Ba returns to Besiktas from Shanghai Shenhua

Demba Ba returns to Besiktas after leaving the Turkish club in 2015.

Demba Ba has left Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua to return to Besiktas, the Turkish side confirmed on Tuesday.

Former Newcastle United and Chelsea striker Ba, 31, rejoined the club he left midway through 2015 to move to the CSL after successfully completing a medical on Monday.

Ba was prolific during his time in the China, scoring 14 times in 18 games in the 2016 season before breaking his leg in his side's meeting with cross-city rivals Shanghai SIPG in July. 

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Besiktas sign Ryan Babel on free transfer after Deportivo deal expires

Ryan Babel
Ryan Babel spent the first half of the season at Deportivo La Coruna.

Besiktas have signed free agent Ryan Babel on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

Babel, 30, spent the first half of the season at Deportivo La Coruna before his contract with the Spanish club expired on Dec. 31.

Deportivo had hoped the former Liverpool player would remain with the club until the end of the season, but he has opted to move to Besiktas, signing with the Turkish side until 2019.