Header off Ibrahimovic’s pony tail secures Community Shield for Man United

LONDON – Jose Mourinho claimed his first piece of silverware at Manchester United as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late header earned a 2-1 victory over Leicester City in the Community Shield at Wembley.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring Manchester United's winner against Leicester in the Community Shield

Summer signing Ibrahimovic endeared himself to the United faithful with an 83rd-minute winner as United won the trophy for a record 21st time.

In the traditional season curtain-raiser, Jesse Lingard added to his FA Cup final-winning goal with a stunning solo effort on 32 minutes to give United the half-time lead.

But Leicester hit back after the break as Jamie Vardy punished Marouane Fellaini’s misplaced backpass to draw the Premier League champions level.

However, it was United who had the last word as Ibrahimovic outmuscled Wes Morgan and steered Antonio Valencia’s cross beyond the reach of Kasper Schmeichel.

News emerged before kick-off at Wembley that Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba was set for a medical in Manchester ahead of a reported world-record transfer, before another of United’s signings had taken centre-stage by the final whistle.

Wayne Rooney lifts the Community Shield at Wembley

Fellow debutant Eric Bailly impressed but was tested inside five minutes as Vardy skipped past him before Daley Blind’s challenge put the ball behind for a corner.

Leicester, with Claudio Ranieiri keeping faith in the side which delivered the title, came close on the 20-minute mark as Vardy again got the better of Bailly to find strike partner Shinji Okazaki, whose curling effort was deflected behind for a corner.

The Japan striker then rose ahead of Ibrahimovic and Michael Carrick to head the resulting corner onto David de Gea’s crossbar.

The game appeared to be entering a lull before the ball broke to Wayne Rooney and he picked out Lingard just inside the Leicester half.

The 23-year-old then set off a run which saw him bundle his way through four Leicester challenges, with Foxes skipper Morgan beaten after diving in, before he showed the composure required to steer the ball home.

Ranieri made two changes at the interval as club-record signing Ahmed Musa was introduced, and it was not long until the new boy was involved.
He streaked away down the left and, although his ball inside was poor, Fellaini’s attempted back-pass was weak and Vardy nipped in ahead of De Gea and levelled the scores.

Lingard limped out of action just after the hour to be replaced by fellow FA Cup final goalscorer Juan Mata, but it was the Foxes who had their tails up.

United slowly came back into the game and Ibrahimovic, quiet on his competitive United bow, saw a tame effort towards goal cleared off the line by Danny Drinkwater.

With 10 minutes remaining, Musa just failed to make meaningful contact when through on goal as Robert Huth’s flick-on from Luis Hernandez’s long throw-in almost found the Nigeria international.

With penalties looming Ibrahimovic put his usual stamp on proceedings as he rose to head Antonio Valencia’s centre-back across Kasper Schmeichel’s goal and in off his left post.

Mata was then taken off in the closing moments and appeared to have a heated debate with Mourinho, having been withdrawn less than half an hour after his introduction.

But it was United and Mourinho – 12 months after he lost the same fixture to Arsenal while manager of Chelsea -who came out on top and the new Old Trafford boss toasted each and every one of his players on the pitch. – Skysports

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