Manchester United 3 Southampton 2 – Jose in no mood to celebrate
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come to the rescue of Manchester United with a late header to hand his side the EFL Cup in a 3-2 win over Southampton.
Manolo Gabbiadini appeared to open the scoring for the Saints in the game’s early stages, only for the goal to be incorrectly ruled out for offside.
Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard made the most of United’s slice of luck to put Jose Mourinho’s men two ahead against the run of play.
That man Gabbiadini continued his stunning form since arriving from Napoli in January, with goals either side of half-time to level the contest.
But Ibrahimovic proved to be the difference, heading home a well-placed cross from Ander Herrera.
Here are the main talking points following the final:
How different it could have been
Southampton’s fans and players will have every right to ask, what if? The south coast thought they had taken an early league when Manolo Gabbiadini tucked away a delightful cross from fullback Cedric Soares. But a quick look to the sideline, saw the official with his flag raised, an incorrect decision.
Replays confirmed that Ryan Bertrand was in an offside position, when the ball was played across, but he had no impact on the play in the lead-up to the ball being put in the back of the net. It was a decision which robbed the Italian striker of what would have been a memorable hat-trick.
He has made a big impact since making the move to England in January, and if he continues this type of form, the Saints have a real player on their hands.
Zlatan does it again
On so many occasions throughout his career, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has stood up on the big stage. In a match where United were by far the less superior team, Ibrahimovic took the chances as any good striker does. While there was questions over Fraser Forster’s goalkeeping for the game’s opener, you can’t take away from the fact it was a moment of brilliance from the retired Swedish international.
Throughout the course of the season, Ibrahimovic has been the man to pull United out of trouble and he did it once again at Wembley. While United fans are sure to be pleased with plenty of goals from the 35-year-old, heading into the next campaign, goals must be found from elsewhere.
Jose reluctant to celebrate at the final whistle
Even when his side did double their advantage during the second half, manager Jose Mourinho refused to celebrate. As the final whistle sounded upon another Wembley final, the Portuguese boss consoled his opposite number in Claude Puel, realising United were lucky to escape with the trophy. Puel set up his side to take the game to United, they did exactly that, playing at a tempo United could simply not match. It’s another trophy for United, but it was one they were simply lucky to claim.
Throughout his managerial career, Mourinho has demanded so much of his players and this clash was no different. When Andre Mariner ended the clash, it was more of a feeling of relief than joy, he will want a quick turnaround in performance levels heading into league action next weekend.
A historic victory
United fans are sure to be pleased in the fact that the win sees them equal rivals Liverpool as England’s most successful club.
The Red Devils have won silverware 44 times in their history with 20 league titles, 12 FA Cups, five League Cups, three European Cups among them.
While Liverpool have captured 18 league titles, seven FA Cups, eight League Cups, five European Cups