EFL Cup Final, Wembley – Manchester United 3 (Ibrahimovic 19’ 87′, Lingard 38’) Southampton 2 (Gabbiadini 45’, 48’)
A late winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic secured Manchester United’s first major trophy under Jose Mourinho, as they beat Southampton 3-2 in the final of the EFL Cup.
United took the lead with a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free kick, and doubled their advantage with a calm finish from Jesse Lingard. Southampton pulled one back just before half-time through Manolo Gabbiadini.
But there was controversy, throughout, with Gabbiadini having an opening goal incorrectly ruled out for offside, and Matthew Stephens should later have been sent off for a studs-up challenge on Antony Martial.
In the second half, Southampton quickly equalised when Gabbiadini grabbed his second with a smart finish, and United were on the back foot for the rest of the half until Ibrahimovic headed in with three minutes remaining.
TALKING POINT – Were Southampton held back by the referee?
Manolo Gabbiadini scored twice, but it could have been three. He tapped home what should have been the opener but it was disallowed for an incorrect offside ruling. Later, Jesse Lingard could have been sent off for a trip when already on a yellow card, but Andre Marriner was lenient. Southampton will feel let down by the ref.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United): Gabbiadini ran him close, but Ibrahimovic carried United. His free kick was expertly placed just over the wall, and his winner came as a result of a counter-attack that he launched. It is only his advanced years that stop the comparison between Eric Cantona’s FA Cup win against Liverpool.
Manchester United: De Gea 8, Valencia 7, Smalling 6, Bailly 6, Rojo 5, Herrera 6, Pogba 5, Lingard 6, Mata 5, Martial 5, Ibrahimovic 8. Subs: Carrick 6, Fellaini 6 Rashford 6.
Southampton: Forster 5, Cedric 6, Yoshida 6, Stephens 5, Bertrand 6, Romeu 6, Davis 6, Ward-Prowse 6, Tadic 6, Redmond 6, Gabbiadini 8. Subs: Long 6, Rodriguez 6, Boufal 6.
19′ – GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Southampton. Ibrahimovic scores – A brilliant free kick. Three steps, over the wall, and Forster is slow to react to the shot, allowing it to creep past him.
38′ – GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Southampton. Lingard scores – Herrera to Lingard, onto Martial on the left. His cross is blocked and then he’s tackled to win a throw. United have been poor so far, really lacking any fluidity.. But…Rojo drives forward from the left, towards the box, slips in Lingard, and he strokes a shot past Forster and into the bottom corner.
45+2′ – GOAL! Manchester United 2-1 Southampton. Gabbiadini scores – a cross from Rojo’s side – he’s got dragged inside without paying attention – is sent in by Ward-Prowse and Gabbiadini loses Bailly to tap in past De Gea.
48′ – GOAL! Manchester United 2-2 Southampton. Gabbiadini scores – A corner from the left is headed up, it’s headed back into the box and Gabbiadini whips a leg around the ball and past De Gea.
63′ – ROMEU HEADER – Romeu glances a header from a corner at goal, and it strikes the post with De Gea beaten.
87′ – GOAL! Manchester United 3-2 Southampton. Ibrahimovic scores – A quite ridiculous man. Patient build up from United sees the ball worked to Herrera just inside the box on the right. He clips a cross in for Ibrahimovic, who makes no error from six yards out and puts it pasts Forster.
- Ibrahimovic has scored 89 goals in his last 100 club games.
- Jose Mourinho has now won the League Cup four times, a joint-record among managers along with Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has now scored six times in his last five domestic cup finals.
- Manolo Gabbiadini is the second player to score twice in a League Cup Final against Manchester United after Dean Saunders.
- Manolo Gabbiadini is the fourth Italian to score in the League Cup Final (Ravanelli, Di Matteo, Borini).
- Jesse Lingard has scored in each of his last three appearances at Wembley for Manchester United.