Ibrahimovic winner gives Manchester United EFL Cup glory against Southampton
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late header secured Manchester United the first major trophy of the Jose Mourinho era, breaking Southampton hearts at the end of a thrilling EFL Cup final.
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.