Ibrahimovic winner clinches EFL Cup

Zlatan Ibrahimovic handed Manchester United the EFL Cup as his late header secured a 3-2 win over Southampton in the final at Wembley on Sunday.

  • Manchester United 3 Southampton 2
  • Ibrahimovic free-kick opens scoring
  • Lingard doubles United's lead
  • Gabbiadini pulls one back before HT
  • Italian striker draws Saints level
  • Ibrahimovic header wins EFL Cup

Match Summary

Jose Mourinho became the first manager to win the title with two clubs, although his side were outplayed for much of the encounter in the capital.

United went two goals up through Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard before Manolo Gabbiadini pulled one back for the Saints in first-half stoppage time.

Gabbiadini struck again shortly after the restart to turn the final on its head, but Ibrahimovic had the final say as he headed home four minutes from time to clinch a first trophy under the stewardship of Mourinho.

Full Report

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Claude Puel's men were by far the better team in the final, but found themselves trailing at the break.

United created the first chance after just four minutes, though, when Ibrahimovic squared the ball to Paul Pogba, who tested Fraser Forster with a venomous shot from distance that the keeper punched away.

The south-coast club were causing problems down both flanks, and Nathan Redmond saw his ninth-minute strike deflected wide of the target off Ander Herrera from one such attack.

Gabbiadini had the ball in the back of the net two minutes later as he steered in Cedric's low cross on the right, but the offside flag went up incorrectly as it was Ryan Bertrand who had strayed beyond the last man and not the Italian.

Redmond then dragged an effort well wide of the left post from 20 yards out in the 16th minute  after cutting inside, but the Red Devils took the lead against the run of play three minutes later.

Ibrahimovic's free-kick had too much power on it as he beat a diving Forster at his right post after getting the ball up and over the wall.

David De Gea pulled off a fine save low to his right to deny James Ward-Prowse from outside the area after he had been teed up by Gabbiadini on 28 minutes, while the Spanish keeper prevented Dusan Tadic from equalising four minutes later after the Serbian had been picked out just outside the area by a super Ward-Prowse pass.

But the Saints fell further behind in the 38th minute when Lingard guided his shot into the bottom-right corner of the net from just inside the box after latching onto Marcos Rojo's pass following good link-up play on the left flank.

Gabbiadini, though, halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time as he turned in Cedric's low cross at the near post to give the Saints a lifeline.

They started the second half on the front foot as Ward-Prowse fired in a volley that was punched away by De Gea in the 48th minute, but the levelled matters moments later when Gabbiadini picked out the bottom-left corner of the goal with a shot on the turn after United failed to clear their lines from a corner.

The woodwork then came to the Red Devils' rescue on 63 minutes when Oriol Romeu climbed above Pogba to direct his header against the right post.

Lingard should perhaps have done better after he collected Anthony Martial's good cross from the left inside the area, but he fired over the crossbar on 76 minutes.

Marcus Rashford forced a save out of Forster with an effort from a tight angle on the left on 84 minutes after being played in by Ibrahimovic, who struck two minutes later with a header from six yards out after getting on the end of Herrera's cross on the right.