Southampton Robbed As Ibrahimovic Breaks Saints Hearts

during the EFL Cup Final between Manchester United and Southampton at Wembley Stadium on February 26, 2017 in London, England.

Well where do I start? Has everyone recovered from that? What a game first of all, a fantastic final. Many finals are edgy and not very entertaining, yesterday’s EFL Cup final was completely different from the norm. Southampton were absolutely outstanding, they deserved to be lifting the trophy after the frantic final – unfortunately for saints fans it wasn’t to be.

Gabbiadini had an early goal wrongly disallowed for offside, replays showed that it was Ryan Bertrand who strayed offside but was not interfering with play as Gabbiadini stroked the ball home. I constantly replayed the incident, I have to say it is a very poor decision. On such a big occasion the officials need to get these decisions right. If that goal was given, the way Southampton played yesterday there is no doubt in my mind they would’ve gone on to win it.

Southampton’s misery was compounded moments later as Ibrahimovic struck a superb free-kick from 25 yards, following Oriol Romeu’s needless challenge on Ander Herrera, I couldn’t believe Romeu went in for the challenge, Herrera had already played the ball when Romeu came flying in. You need to keep your head and keep your concentration in a final, Romeu lost his. Forster in my opinion was showing far too much of the goal to Ibrahimovic, it was a fantastic free-kick however if Forster was a few steps to his right, he saves Ibrahimovic’s effort.

Southampton didn’t let Manchester United’s goal get them down, the saints seemed to be controlling much of the play in the first period. Long range shots from James Ward-Prowse and Dusan Tadic were well saved by David De Gea. Manchester United found themselves 2-0 up after 38 minutes when Jese Lingard kept his composure to stroke the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from 18 yards out. The second Manchester United goal came from good, neat passing down the left hand-side which opened Southampton up.

Saints got the goal they deserved in first-half stoppage time through Gabbiadini, poking through De Gea’s legs from close-range after Ward-Prowse’s cross from the right. Three minutes after the break, Gabbiadini was at it again producing a stunning snap-shot on the turn after the ball dropped to him in the area, leaving De Gea rooted.

The post then denied Southampton a third as Romeu went close to redeeming himself, with a header from a Ward-Prowse corner. At the other end Lingard volleyed a clear chance over the bar having taken the ball down at the far post in acres of space, the youngster failing to show the same composure for the second goal.

Southampton refused to give up and almost took the lead as Ryan Bertrand’s dangerous cross evaded both Shane Long and Ward-Prowse. On the big occasions, big players usually step up. That is exactly what happened as Ibrahimovic nodded home the winner after a great cross from Herrera after 86 minutes.

Ibrahimovic’s two goals took him to 26 for the season, his debut season in England at the age of 35. A truly incredible player who many thought would not cut it at his age in English football. The Swede has surely silenced all of his critics. You have to wonder, where would Manchester United be without Ibrahimovic?

It was a heartbreaking day for Southampton and their fans. They really deserved more, the saints took the game to United but in the end they did not get that bit of luck their performance deserved. One thing’s for sure, Southampton can look forward to the future under Claude Puel, if they continue to play the way they did yesterday – Southampton will be a force to be reckoned with.