Manchester United wins EFL Cup with Zlatan header

Manchester United won their first major trophy of the season by beating Southampton 3-2 through a Zlatan Ibrahimovic header in a thrilling final.

The Saints were the better team throughout the match in Wembley. Manolo Gabbiadiani saw a goal ruled out by a controversial offside decision before United took an undeserved two-goal lead in the first-half.

Ibrahimovic’s spearing free-kick managed to deceived Fraser Forster to bring United ahead, while Jesse Lingard’s precise finish went through the legs of Maya Yoshida to double the advantage and seemingly set the course of the match to a straightforward United win.

However, Gabbiadiani, a £14m signing from Napoli, proved his credentials to be as the game’s outstanding performer.
Despite the almost unfair offside ruling against what could have been the first goal of the match, he kept going for the Saints and was ultimately rewarded with a quick tap-in in first-half injury time, before hitting another on the turn 3 minutes into the second-half.

The game looked destined for extra-time from there, but the Saints could only blame themselves as loopy defending afforded Ibrahimovic too much space in the 87th minute, allowing the talismanic striker to score from a header and spare United the embarrassment of losing a game they lead 2-0.

“This is a team effort,” Ibrahimovic said in the post-game interview. “This is what I came for — to win, and I am winning. The more I win the more satisfied I get.”

“You appreciate it more the older you get. Wherever I have gone I have won. I think this is trophy number 32 for me. This is what I predicted. My friend, I keep doing it. I’m enjoying it in England.”

It also justified Jose Mourinho’s intentions to sign the Swede on free, as their unique partnership won the Portuguese his first trophy as United boss and indeed making Mourinho the first manager in Manchester United’s history to win a major trophy in his first season.

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