By Aaron Bishop
Zlatan Ibrahimovic added the EFL Cup to his impressive collection after scoring the winner in Manchester United’s win over Southampton at Wembley on Sunday. This was also Jose Mourinho’s first taste of silverware for the Red Devil’s since his summer appointment but it wasn’t plain sailing for his side as Southampton battled bravely and the result could have easily been very different.
Southampton were the better side for most of the final but a controversial offside decision and the inspiration from the 35-year-old Swedish talisman left them heartbroken as he took his tally to 26 goals this season.
United took an undeserved two-goal lead through Ibrahimovic's superb 19th minute free-kick and Jesse Lingard's measured finish seven minutes before the interval. A brace from Manolo Gabbiadini either side of half-time put the Saints back on level terms, as their performance merited.
Both teams had chances to win the game as Oriel Romeu hit the woodwork and Lingard missed a chance late on but it was the iconic Ibrahimovic who got on the end of a clipped cross from Ander Herrera into the penalty area just as the game seemed to be heading into extra time.
Manchester United were outplayed for large periods of the match but that won’t matter in the grand scheme of things as Jose Mourinho walked away from Wembley with the first trophy of his Manchester United reign.
It an interesting fact that the League Cup was the first trophy he won in his first season at Chelsea, beating Liverpool in the 2005 final, and it was his first success in his second spell at Stamford Bridge as they beat Spurs in the 2015 final. After winning the cup for the fourth time, he is now level with Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough as the most successful manager in the League Cup.