Southampton Miss Out On League Cup

Southampton were unable to claim their second major trophy in their history as they fell to a late 3-2 defeat to Manchester United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard put Jose Mourinho’s side two goals up, but a Manolo Gabbiadini brace pulled the Saints level. But it was a late Ibrahimovic header that saw the first silverware of the season head to Manchester.

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Jose Mourinho has now won all four of his League Cup finals (2005, 2007, 2015, and 2017). Image: BBC Sport

It was a frustrating start for Saints, who started the game brightly. Southampton felt aggrieved when Gabbiadini turned in a Cedric Soares cross, only for the goal to be ruled out by the assistant. Replays showed that the Italian was clearly onside, whilst Ryan Bertrand, who was standing yards behind the action, was actually offside.

After that decision it was only a matter of time before United opened the deadlock. It came in the form of an Ibrahimovic free kick. The Swede swept the ball in to the bottom corner from 25 yards to give United an undeserved lead. Jesse Lingard doubled United’s lead seven minutes before half time. Marcus Rojo strode forward, receiving the ball from out wide, before squaring the ball to Lingard, who had acres of space to curl the ball in to the far corner.

The game was looking lost for Saints, but there was a glimmer of hope just before half time. James Ward-Prowse whipped a low ball in to the six yard box just before half time, where Gabbiadini lost his man to guide the ball past David De Gea.

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Manolo Gabbiadini has now hit five (should have been SIX!) goals in his three games for Southampton. Image: Metro

And Saints fans only had to wait three minutes after the break for them to draw level. United thought that they had cleared a corner, but Steven Davis headed the ball back in to the box. Gabbiadini held off Chris Smalling as he turned and swept the ball home with his left foot.

A period of sustained Saints pressure followed. De Gea punched away a fierce Redmond volley, and Oriel Romeu hit the post with a header from a corner. In a rare United attack, an Anthony Martial cross found its way to the far post, where Jesse Lingard blazed over the bar despite being under no pressure. Jack Stephens almost gave Saints the lead with five minutes to go, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic headed clear his goal-bound header.

And it was Ibrahimovic who was the hero for Mourinho’s side, as he found the space between the Saints’ centre backs to nod home from close range to gift United the trophy in the 87th minute.It was a heartbreaking moment for Saints, who dominated large spells of the final and had the majority of the chances.

Despite not lifting the trophy, it was a final to remember for the Southampton fans. It was the first time that Saints had appeared in a major final since their 2003 FA Cup final appearance, and the fans were much more vocal than their Mancunian counterparts. Without the services of talisman Virgil Van Dijk and top goalscorer Charlie Austin, the players put in an incredible shift, but were ultimately punished by the difference in quality that United’s bank balance allows.

Southampton Player Ratings:

Forster – 6: Would maybe be disappointed with the first goal, but stood no chance for the other two.

Cedric – 7: Looked dangerous on the overlap, should have had an assist in the first half.

Stephens – 7: United felt he could have been sent off, but was unlucky to give away a free kick. Showed experience beyond his years.

Yoshida – 7: Really stepped up to fill the gap left by Fonte’s departure and Van Dijk’s injury.

Bertrand – 7: Strong going forward and kept Juan Mata quiet all game.

Romeu – 7: Picked up an early booking but put in a very solid display. Hit the post at 2-2.

Davis – 7: Classic Steven Davis. Covered every blade of grass and provided the second assist for Gabbiadini.

Tadic – 8: Most of Saints’ attacks came through him, unlucky to be taken off so early.

Ward-Prowse – 7: Picked up an assist and was a constant threat from dead ball situations.

Redmond – 7: Looked dangerous going forward, but was ultimately unable to recapture his finishing from the semi-final first leg against Liverpool.

Gabbiadini – 9: Scored twice and had a goal wrongly ruled offside. Should be very disappointed to be subbed off at 2-2.

Subs:

Boufal (Tadic, 77) – 6: Lacking match fitness and it showed.

Long (Gabbiadini, 83): Brought on too late to make an impact.

Rodriguez (Davis, 90): Brought on too late to make an impact, but was good to see him on the pitch at Wembley after his injury problems.

Unused: Hassen, Sims, Caceres, Hojbjerg, McQueen.

Manchester United Player Ratings:

De Gea 8; Valencia 6, Bailly 6, Smalling 5, Rojo 6; Herrera 7, Pogba 6; Lingard 7 (Rashford, 77, 6), Mata 6 (Carrick, 45, 8), Martial 6 (Fellaini, 90); Ibrahimovic 10.

Unused: Romero, Blind, Young, Rooney.

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England slump to disappointing defeat

England’s 10 match unbeaten run ended in disappointment as Chile capitalised on some poor defending. After some early England pressure, Alexis Sanchez headed in from close range after just 7 minutes. This led to the positive atmosphere amongst the crowd that had been established in the matches against Poland and Montenegro had completely vanished, replaced by the tense silence that has plagued Wembley for years. England only really threatened from set pieces, as a deflected Lampard free kick was pushed over by the Chile ‘keeper. Phil Jones had a chance from a corner, and debutants Lallana and Rodriguez both had tame efforts straight at the ‘keeper. Chile almost had a second goal, but Wigan’s Jean Beausejour failed to capitalise on poor defensive positioning. Jack Wilshere hit a sweet volley from 20 yards but Bravo palmed it away from danger. The second half brought a raft of changes; however none of them really got a hold of the game. Lallana and Rooney had England’s best chances of the half, but Lallana’s shot was deflected wide and Rooney spooned his effort high and wide. Chile struck again as Gary Cahill gifted possession to Chile late on and Sanchez finished coolly past an exposed Fraser Forster. England’s midfield really failed to take the game to Chile, however this is maybe understandable with both Michael Carrick and Steven Gerrard injured.

Ratings

Forster (6/10) Not an ideal start to his England career, but stood no chance for either of the goals. Didn’t have much to do but did look a little shaky.

Johnson (4/10) Same old story. Forgot that he’s a defender and offered little going forward. A liability waiting to happen.

Jones (6/10) Decent showing considering that this was his first cap at centre back. Had a chance to equalise in the first half and could realistically be first choice in Brazil.

Cahill (5/10) Looked off the pace and struggled without Jagielka next to him. His mistake led to Sanchez’s second goal. Didn’t help that Johnson left him exposed on a number of occasions.

Baines (6/10) Could have done better for the first goal. Produced some good deliveries but failed to recreate his club form.

Milner (6/10) Typical workmanlike performance as we come to expect. A willing runner but you can’t help thinking that his role in the team is to do Johnson’s defending for him.

Lampard (6/10) Fairly quiet game from the skipper. One deflected free kick but showed no real flair.

Wilshere (6/10) Committed performance and created a few chances. Looked one of few glimmers of hope in the first half.

Lallana (6/10) Good showing for his debut. Showed promise going forward and always looked to get on the ball.

Rodriguez (5/10) Maybe the call up came slightly too early for him. Had a quiet game before being taken off.

Rooney (5/10) Lots of running but produced very little up front. Looked frustrated at the level of service and pressing by his teammates.

Subs: Smalling (Jones – 57), Townsend (Rodriguez – 57), Defoe (Milner – 66), Henderson (Lampard – 71), Cleverley (Wilshere – 71), Barkley (Lallana – 77)