Ibrahimovic Late Strike Wins EFL Cup For Man United
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late winner secured the EFL Cup and gave Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho his first success since his summer appointment, as brave Southampton were beaten at Wembley.
Southampton were the better side for most of this final but were left heartbroken by a controversial offside decision – and the inspiration provided by the 35-year-old Swede as he took his tally to 26 goals this season.
Saints’ striker Manolo Gabbiadiani saw a goal contentiously ruled out before United took an undeserved two-goal lead through Ibrahimovic’s superb 19th minute free-kick and Jesse Lingard’s measured finish seven minutes before the interval.
Southampton, as their performance merited, were on terms with two predatory strikes from Gabbiadini either side of half-time.
Oriel Romeu hit the woodwork before Ibrahimovic stole in on Ander Herrera’s cross three minutes from time to give United a victory that looked beyond them for long spells.
Mourinho is the first United manager to win a top prize in his maiden season at Old Trafford, a feat not even Ferguson or Matt Busby achieved.
It was also the 54-year-old’s 19th major trophy of his glittering career.
With United trailing well behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, Mourinho needed this success to guarantee players, fans and the club’s hierarchy remain in his corner.
But the serial winner will hope the victory acts as a catalyst to claim bigger prizes in the near future, just as it did when the League Cup was the first silverware of his maiden spell with Chelsea.
“Ibrahimovic won the game for us because he was outstanding,” Mourinho said.
“Our opponents were better than us for long periods of the game and didn’t deserve to lose over 90 minutes.
“Ibrahimovic made the difference. He gave us a cup.