Saints suffer late heartbreak in EFL Cup final

By SFC Media Sun 26 Feb Man Utd vs Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Dusan Tadić
Sun 26 Feb 4.30PM
EFL Cup
Manchester United
3
Southampton
2
Ibrahimovic [19' 87'] Lingard [38']
Gabbiadini [45+1' 48']
Herrera (24') Lingard (41')
Romeu (18') Stephens (40') Redmond (56')
Referee: Andre Marriner | Venue: Wembley Stadium | Attendance: 85,264

Southampton suffered late heartbreak in the EFL Cup final, as Manchester United ran out 3-2 victors at Wembley.

Manolo Gabbiadini struck a brace to cancel out first-half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard, but Ibrahimovic then secured victory and a brace of his own with a late header on 87 minutes.

Claude Puel stuck with the team that saw off Sunderland 4-0 in the Premier League two weeks earlier, and they made a positive start to the match at Wembley.

Dusan Tadić fired an early ball low across the Manchester United penalty area, but it just evaded the onrushing Gabbiadini at the near post.

United responded and Paul Pogba took aim from 25 yards out but his rasping effort was easily punched clear by Fraser Forster in goal.

Nathan Redmond then skipped past two challenges and saw his strike deflected behind, before the United defence were forced into clearing consecutive corners.

On the ten minute mark Saints had the breakthrough they deserved. Cedrić bombed into the penalty area and crossed low for Gabbiadini to supply a simple finish from close range, only to be wrongly denied by the linesman’s offside flag.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for Saints, as Ibrahimovic netted an opener on 20 minutes. Oriol Romeu was booked for a late challenge on Ander Herrera, and the Swedish striker then stepped up to dispatch the resulting free-kick past Forster from 30 yards.

Despite going behind Southampton rallied and almost found an equaliser through James Ward-Prowse. Smart hold up play from Gabbiadini allowed the Italian to tee up the Academy graduate on the edge of the penalty area, but his dragged strike was palmed away by David de Gea.

The Spaniard made another crucial save just minutes later, as his trailing foot prevented Tadić from finding the equaliser that Saints’ dominant performance had deserved.

United then doubled their lead on 38 minutes. Lingard found himself in too much space in the penalty area and calmly slotted under Forster and into his bottom left corner to further the Red Devils' advantage.

Despite the deficit, Saints were not going to lie down. As the additional time was being announced over the Wembley tannoy, Ward-Prowse crossed into the box and Gabbiadini snuck in to slot the ball through De Gea’s legs and earn a way back into the match.

Saints celebrate Manolo Gabbiadini's equaliser.

United made one change at the break as Michael Carrick replaced Juan Mata, but it did little to quell Saints' dominance. Redmond fired a superb early volley at goal after Maya Yoshida crossed back into the penalty area, but was denied by De Gea who pushed the ball behind for a corner.

Then, on 49 minutes, came the moment of celebration that Saints fans had been robbed off in the first half. Gabbiadini spun his man in the area and wrapped his foot around the ball to direct it into the bottom corner and make it 2-2.

At this stage it was all Southampton and the lead was nearly claimed on 62 minutes. Roared on by the huge travelling support, Ward-Prowse picked out Romeu's head at the back post with an in-swinging corner, but the Spaniard's effort bounced clear off the post.

José Mourinho then shuffled his pack once more on 77 minutes, as goalscorer Lingard made way for Marcus Rashford, whilst Saints introduced Sofiane Boufal in favour of Tadić before Shane Long then replaced Gabbiadini up front.

Boufal and Long almost made an immediate impact. The Moroccan sent Bertrand scuttling down the left flank who thumped a low cross towards Long at the near post, but the striker was unable to provide the crucial touch.

Despite Saints' dominance it was United that took victory in the dying minutes. A quick break saw Herrera chip into Ibrahimovic in the penalty area, who powered a header past Forster to make it 3-2 on 87 minutes and snatch the trophy.

Manchester United

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    48
    52
  • Shots
    10
    12
  • Shots on target
    6
    5
  • Corners
    3
    12
  • Passes Complete
    380
    382

Manchester United

1
David de Gea (GK)
25
Antonio Valencia
12
Chris Smalling (C)
5
Marcos Rojo
3
Eric Bailly
8
Juan Mata
Michael Carrick (45′)
21
Ander Herrera
6
Paul Pogba
14
Jesse Lingard
Marcus Rashford (77′)
11
Anthony Martial
Marouane Fellaini (90′)
9
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
27
Marouane Fellaini
20
Sergio Romero
17
Daley Blind
16
Michael Carrick
19
Marcus Rashford
10
Wayne Rooney
18
Ashley Young

Southampton

1
Fraser Forster (GK)
2
Cédric Soares
3
Maya Yoshida
24
Jack Stephens
21
Ryan Bertrand
14
Oriol Romeu
22
Nathan Redmond
16
James Ward-Prowse
8
Steven Davis (C)
Jay Rodriguez (90′)
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
Shane Long (83′)
11
Dusan Tadic
Sofiane Boufal (77′)
12
Martín Cáceres
9
Jay Rodriguez
40
Mouez Hassen
19
Sofiane Boufal
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
7
Shane Long
38
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