Ibra fires United to Com­mu­nity Shield win

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

ZLA­TAN Ibrahi­movic an­nounced his ar­rival in English foot­ball with an 83rd-minute win­ner as Manch­ester United edged Le­ices­ter City 2-1 at Wem­b­ley yes­ter­day to win the Com­mu­nity Shield.

The for­mer Paris Saint-Ger­main striker had had a quiet game, but he out­jumped Wes Mor­gan to head home An­to­nio Va­len­cia’s cross to earn Jose Mour­inho his first piece of sil­ver­ware as United man­ager.

Le­ices­ter tal­is­man Jamie Vardy had ear­lier pun­ished an er­ror by Marouane Fel­laini to can­cel out FA Cup match-win­ner Jesse Lin­gard’s first-half solo goal for United, who claimed a record-ex­tend­ing 21st Com­mu­nity Shield.

United, who have con­firmed they are close to re-sign­ing for­mer player Paul Pogba from Ju­ven­tus, open their Pre­mier League cam­paign at Bournemouth next Sun­day.

Le­ices­ter man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri handed official de­buts to close-sea­son sign­ings Ahmed Musa, Luis Her­nan­dez and Nam­palys Mendy.

While his side came up short, he will have been en­cour­aged by the bright­ness of their dis­play, three months on from their 5 000-1 Pre­mier League tri­umph.

They launch their league ti­tle de­fence at Hull City on Satur­day. Mour­inho de­ployed his new-look strike part­ner­ship of Wayne Rooney and Ibrahi­movic and both play­ers made their pres­ence felt in Le­ices­ter’s penalty area early on.

Rooney headed straight at Kasper Sch­me­ichel from Luke Shaw’s cross and the Le­ices­ter goal­keeper was also obliged to field a hooked Fel­laini shot after Ibrahi­movic had leapt to win a high ball.

Le­ices­ter at­tacked the game with the in­ten­sity that char­ac­terised last sea­son’s ti­tle tri­umph and pro­cured sev­eral chances of their own.

Vardy drew last-ditch tack­les from Da­ley Blind and im­pres­sive United new boy Eric Bailly with trade­mark dart­ing runs, while Shinji Okazaki glanced a header against the bar from a Marc Al­brighton cor­ner.

With Ibrahi­movic and Rooney both drop­ping deep, United lacked an at­tack­ing fo­cal point, but in the 32nd minute Lin­gard took mat­ters into his own hands.

After elud­ing the slid­ing Andy King, he drove to­wards goal, slipped the ball be­neath Le­ices­ter cap­tain Mor­gan’s sprawl­ing chal­lenge and con­fi­dently tucked a shot past Sch­me­ichel.

It came at the same end as Lin­gard’s spec­tac­u­lar ex­tra-time win­ner against Crys­tal Palace in May’s FA Cup fi­nal.

Within min­utes, United’s cel­e­brat­ing fans were singing: “Pogba’s com­ing home!”

Ranieri in­tro­duced Ahmed Musa and De­marai Gray at half­time and the for­mer played a big role in Le­ices­ter’s 52nd-minute equaliser with an en­ter­pris­ing run from deep.

But the goal owed al­most ev­ery­thing to a mis­take by Fel­laini, whose un­der-hit back-pass en­abled Vardy to nip in, round David de Gea, and score.

Fol­low­ing a glut of changes by both sides, Musa squan­dered a chance to give Le­ices­ter vic­tory when he headed Robert Huth’s flick-on over the bar from point-blank range.

Within min­utes Ibrahi­movic had pun­ished him, soar­ing above Mor­gan to meet Va­len­cia’s cross with a down­ward header that hit the left-hand post and bounced into the goal.

Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan made his official United de­but as a stop­page-time sub­sti­tute.

It was Mata who made way, hav­ing only en­tered the fray in the 63rd minute, and the Spa­niard, frozen out by Mour­inho dur­ing their time at Chelsea, ex­changed an­gry words with the United man­ager as he came off. — Su­perS­port

Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic cel­e­brates after scor­ing the win­ner for Manch­ester United

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