Image: The Guardian Nigeria

Manchester United have emerged as the 2016 English Football League Cup winners following a 3 – 2 win over fellow Premier League side, Southampton in the final match held at Wembley on Sunday.

A late header by Zlatan Ibrahimovic secured the fifth EFL Cup for the Red Devils after Southampton rallied from two goals down to draw level after the break.

On the road to the final, Manchester United defeated Championship side, Northampton 3 – 1 in the third round and piped neighbours, Manchester City 1 – 0 in the Round of 16.

United then trashed West Ham 4 – 1 in the quarter final to set up a double leg tie with Hull City in the semis. United secured a 2 – 0 victory over Hull in the first leg but lost 2 – 1 in the return fixture at the KC stadium. The Red devils made it to the final on a 3 – 2 aggregate scoreline.

Southampton on the other hand saw off Crystal Palace 2 – 0 in the third round and edged out Sunderland 1 – 0 in the round of 16.

The Saints then secured a 2 – 0 win over Arsenal in the quarter final to set up a two-legged tie against Liverpool in the semi-final. Soton qualified for the final beating Liverpool 2 – 0 on aggregate – pipped Liverpool 1 – 0 in both legs.

After securing a place in the final without conceding a goal, the Saints became a side to watch out for at Sunday’s final.

Southampton almost took the lead after 10 minutes when Gabbiadini tapped in from six yards but the goal was wrongly disallowed for Offside.

Former Chelsea man, Ryan Bertrand was in an offside position in front of goal but he had nothing to do as Gabbiadini came from Behind to tap into the net.

United responded 9 minutes later when Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a brilliant free-Kick to put United ahead.

Jesse Lingard doubled the lead on the 38th minute. It was Lingard’s third goal in his last three games at Wembley.

Italian forward, Manelo Gabbiadini who had his first attempt wrongly disallowed pulled one back for Southampton at the closing minute of first half to put the score at 2 – 1. United made a change at the start of the second half with Juan Mata coming off for Michael Carrick.

Gabbiadini scored his second goal of the evening and leveled for Southampton just three minutes into the second half.

The Saints went close severally in the second half and could have taken the lead on the 63rd minute through Romeu’s header inside the box which hit the woodwork. Five minutes later, Zlatan Ibrahimovic saved an attempt by Southampton from a free-kick.

United took control of the game in less than two minutes to the end. Marcus Rashford came in to replace Jesse Lingard in the 75th minute and almost put United back in the lead nine minutes later when his low shot towards goal on the left side of the box was pushed to the corner by Forster.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbed his second and United’s third three minutes from time through a header to send United to their first major silver piece of the season.

An Unmarked Zlatan headed past Forster from inside the box after a cross from Ander Herrera from the right side of the box.

The win was United’s fifth League Cup trophy after winning in 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010 and Jose Mourinho’s fourth League Cup win after winning with Chelsea in 2005, 2007 and 2015.

Mourinho is now level with Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough as the most successful manager in the League Cup after his fourth triumph.

Manchester United have won each of their last six games at Wembley. Only Liverpool (8) have won the League Cup more times than Manchester United (5).


Author: Timilehin Boyinde

Oluwatimilehin Boyinde is a research writer and a social media strategist. A public affairs analyst, he writes about history, politics, sports, life matters and technology. He is passionate about happenings in Local and international political arenas. He is an avid Manchester United fan and an unapologetic Nigerian.