Ibrahimovic’s late goal gave Manchester United victory over Southampton in the EFL Cup final in a disputed encounter. The 3-2 win gives Mourinho his first major trophy at United.
It was a thrilling encounter at Wembley and one that left United with plenty more work than they may have expected initially. Southampton tried to take full advantage of the opportunity of playing the final.
Southampton were close to being the first on the score sheet. Manolo Gabbiadini did put the ball away, but the goal was wrongly ruled as offside by the referee. It would end up being a decision that would affect the game’s outcome. Minutes later Ibrahimovic scored to make it 1-0 from a free-kick.
Jesse Lingard helped United to a two goal margin, with a goal in the bottom right corner. This is the third time in a row that Lingard scored when playing at Wembley. Gabbiadini got one back for the Saints and this time it counted. After the break Gabbiadini got a second goal and tied the game. This was his fifth goal in three matches for his side, capping his good run of form.
There were goal opportunities for both sides. Throughout the game it looked like the victory could go either way. However with three minutes on the clock, Ibrahimovic showed off his class once again. The striker headed in a cross from Herrera to give United the win.
This is the first major trophy Jose Mourinho has won at Man United. Previously he had won the Charity Shield in the game opener against Leicester. Mourinho has now won the EFL Cup four times, a record only matched by Brian Clough and Alex Ferguson. Manchester United has won the trophy five times.
United’s hero was again Ibrahimovic . His exceptional form has seen him score 20 times in his last 22 games. He has proven vital for United throughout the season. His great form is also an important factor in United drastically improving their game after the slow start to the season.
Despite few chances of winning the Premier League this season, United still has the opportunity of winning a treble of cup competitions. After winning the EFL Cup final, the Red Devils continue their run in the FA Cup and the Europa League, tournaments for which they are seen as favorites.
Manager Jose Mourinho talked to Sky Sports about Ibrahimovic’s impact on tonight’s EFL Cup final:
“Zlatan won the game for us, he was outstanding. There were a couple of performances like Pogba who was at a similar level but Zlatan was outstanding in a match where our opponent was better than us for large periods of the game. Southampton deserved to go to extra-time, they didn’t deserve to lose in 90 minutes, but he made the difference and won us the cup.”
Mourinho also talked about the importance of winning the trophy. The manager believes the victory will give a great boost to his team’s morale.
“This is the first one plus the Charity Shield,” said Mourinho. “For the development of the team there is nothing better than doing it with a feeling of trophies. We now have Bournemouth in the Premier League, Rostov in the Europa league, Chelsea in the FA Cup – so much to play for. “
“I could feel the difference in freshness between one team and the other. We would have been in trouble had it gone to extra time. I had to make the team compact because the fuel was in their legs and not in ours.”