Zlatan booed off pitch as PSG gets the boot

Zlatan booed off pitch as PSG gets the boot
The best efforts of Swedish star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to nothing but scornful booing from the fans of St. Etienne on Tuesday night, as they booted his Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) squad out of the French League Cup quarter-finals.

Dragging on into extra-time after both sides failed to score a single goal, the game ended with a penalty shoot-out where St. Etienne cobbled together a 5-3 win.

Ibrahimovic found himself continually heckled by St. Etienne supporters who are known for giving opponents a difficult time, breaking out into catcalls and boos every time he missed a chance to score, the Aftonbladet newspaper reported.

Yet it was hard to blame the towering Swede for his side’s failure to win. It was PSG captain Thiago Silva who missed the crucial third spot-kick during the penalties.

PSG never got to take their fifth shot after St. Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike put the shoot-out beyond them.

The catcalls and scorn perhaps mark to what extent Zlatan’s debut in French football has stirred up sentiment.

His name has been turned into a verb, “zlataner”, and he has his own doll on the satirical puppet show Les Guignols – an honour, of sorts, in France.

Even traditional reporters appear to have fallen prey to his swagger.

“… the giant Zlatan cut a fearsome figure as he roved at will across the full breadth of the forward line,” French news agency AFP wrote in its Tuesday night summary of the game.

Despite dragging on, the game was not without incident.

Seventeen minutes into the game, a close-range header from Aubameyang’s was cleared off the line by Clement Chantome.

PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi also managed to find the back of the net in the 33rd minute, but was ruled offside when latching onto Zlatan’s pass.

An extra-time mix up between Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic after an ill-judged back pass cost Zlatan a chance at goal as a disbelieving Rufier pounced at the feet of the hesitating Swede.

PSG laid siege to the St Etienne goal in the final period of extra-time, and Ruffier had to beat out a Sylvain Armand shot which was heading for the top corner of the net.

AFP/Ann Törnkvist

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