Late Ibrahimovic header wins EFL Cup for Man Utd

Date published: Sunday 26th February 2017 6:22 - Oli Fisher

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the late hero as Manchester United edged Southampton 3-2 in a thrilling EFL Cup final at Wembley.

Ibrahimovic gave the Red Devils the lead with a trademark precision free-kick, while Jese Lingard doubled the advantage with a composed finish.

However, Manolo Gabbiadini’s goal just before the break livened the tie up, and he levelled proceedings early in the second half.

With less than five minutes on the clock, Ibrahimovic popped up again, heading home unmarked from close range to win the cup for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Wembley bore witness to a superb encounter as expectant United faced a Saints side looking to win just the second major trophy in their history, the first having come 41 years ago when the sides met in the FA Cup final.

Manolo Gabbiadini’s brace had Southampton dreaming as Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard strikes were cancelled out, only for Ibrahimovic to head home three minutes time to clinch a hard-fought 3-2 win.

Europa League and FA Cup glory remain further possibilities this term, but Mourinho will know his players need to up their game moving forwards.

After Gabbiadini had seen an opening goal inexplicably ruled out, under-performing United showed their ruthless edge as Ibrahimovic fired home a free-kick before Lingard scored on a third straight Wembley appearance.

But it appeared a gut-punch rather than a decisive killer-blow. Gabbiadini gave Southampton hope with a close-range goal in first-half stoppage time, before sending the success-starved fans wild with an outstanding leveller.

Oriol Romeu crashed a header off the post shortly after avoiding a second yellow card, but it was not to be for Southampton.

Ibrahimovic’s 26th goal of the season saw Mourinho become the first United manager to win a major trophy in his debut season, and earned the Portuguese a fourth League Cup triumph – a joint record with Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson.

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