UEFA to investigate St Etienne fans’ behaviour at Old Trafford

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against St Etienne for their supporters' behaviour in Thursday's Europa League tie against Manchester United.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's hat-trick secured United a comfortable 3-0 win in the first leg of their last-32 tie at Old Trafford, where the raucous travelling fans made their presence known.

However, some of the over-zealous aspects of that support have led governing body UEFA to take action against St Etienne.

Flares in the stands at Old Trafford. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

A statement from European football's governing body read: "Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against AS Saint-Etienne due to the behaviour of their supporters during their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match against Manchester United FC on 16 February 2017 at Old Trafford.

"The following proceedings have been opened against AS Saint-Etienne for the following infringements: Setting off of firework - Art. 16 (2) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR); Throwing of objects - Art. 16 (2) DR; Improper conduct of supporters - Art. 16 (2) DR."

Flares in the stands at Old Trafford. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will meet to deal with the case at its meeting on March 23 - 29 days after next Wednesday's second leg at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

United have avoided UEFA sanctions for the issues at Old Trafford, just as Leicester did in October when FC Copenhagen fans set off fireworks at the King Power Stadium during their Champions League fixture.

UEFA will no doubt closely monitor the second leg in France, where there promises to be quite the atmosphere if Thursday is anything to go by.

Put to match-winner Ibrahimovic, a former Paris St Germain player, that a clean sheet was important in the first leg, the striker said: "Exactly. A good result because I know how difficult it is to play over there.

"They have a fantastic crowd, fantastic support, and the stadium is very nice, so the guys will see it when we go there. It was important today to get a good result.

"It is a good team. They always make it difficult for every team they play against and when I was at PSG the same thing. They did good.

"I think a couple of players are new, a couple of players left, but it is a good team."

United faced St Etienne in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1977, when the second leg was moved away from Old Trafford after trouble marred the first leg in France.

A neutral venue was required and officials eventually settled on Home Park, Plymouth - 281 miles from Manchester.

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