Man United win thrilling EFL Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th minute winner as Manchester United overcame a spirited Southampton side at Wembley in an entertaining EFL Cup final.

United took the lead through a powerful Ibrahimovic free-kick which flew past the diving Fraser Forster.

Jesse Lingard added a second with a composed finish from 12 yards as United looked to cruise to a comfortable victory.

But Southampton roared back in added time of the first half as Gabbiadini pulled one back with a cheeky finish through the legs of De Gea from point blank range.

Southampton started the second half on the front foot and got the equaliser through a fantastic on the turn finish by Gabbiadini again.

United were on the back foot as Southampton looked the most likely to snatch victory. Romeu came closest for the Saints as his header cannoned off the post.

But it was Zlatan who stole the show at Wembley as he powered in a header to seal the victory for United. Ander Herrera delivered an enticing cross and Zlatan converted the chance expertly beyond Forster to break Southampton hearts.

Wayne Rooney lifts the EFL Cup for Manchester United (Picture: guardian.com)
Wayne Rooney lifts the EFL Cup for Manchester United (Picture: guardian.com)

Southampton will feel angry after Gabbiadini had a goal ruled out wrongly for offside when the game was scoreless.

The win secures Jose Mourinho’s first major trophy in his first season as manager of United, a record which no other United manager has achieved.

This silverware is proof of the apparent improvement under Mourinho who has instilled the will to win into the squad, who also have the ability to grind out victories.

The absence of Mkhitaryan meant the fluidity in attack was removed, with Juan Mata being ineffective in the first half. Mourinho hauled off the Spaniard at half-time and introduced Michael Carrick for his calming presence in midfield.

Southampton created all sorts of problems for United, and can feel proud of how hard they fought against a very strong United side, but ultimately the difference in class showed as Zlatan powered in the winner.

Match winner Ibrahimovic said, “This is a team effort. This is what I came for – to win and I am winning. The more I win the more satisfied I get.”

United boss Jose Mourinho commented, “I’m a bit emotional yes. It’s not easy to win titles and so many times. Winning is always special. The day I don’t get emotional when I win is the day to go home.”

This victory will give the players a massive confidence boost to push on in our charge for a top 4 finish. I seriously think that we will finish second in the league, and of course we’re still well in contention in the FA Cup and Europa League.

How do you think this Cup final victory will impact our league form? Is a second place finish in the league too far fetched?

Leave your thoughts below!

Abdullah Mulla

Sports Writer and Manchester United fan

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