LONDON — It just had to be him.
Zlatan Ibrahimovich rose above Wes Morgan and headed home the game-winner late on as Manchester United beat Leicester City 2-1 to win the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.
[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]
United had taken the lead through Jesse Lingard‘s stunner but Jamie Vardy equalized for a lively Leicester side who looked the more composed throughout much of this contest.
[ MORE: Mourinho praises Pogba ]
On the day United all but confirmed the signing of Paul Pogba, another huge name came up big in a disjointed display for the Red Devils.
Jose Mourinho’s rebuild will take time but he already has a trophy under his belt at United thanks to that man Zlatan.
[ MORE: Pogba to have United medical ]
United had much of the ball early on but Leicester had the first real chance as good link-up play down the left saw Vardy surge into the box but a last-ditch tackle from Daley Blind stopped him getting an effort in on goal.
Wayne Rooney had a tame header easily saved by Kasper Schmeichel after Luke Shaw‘s surging run down the left flank, but Leicester started to look more dangerous in attack as the first half wore on.
[ MORE: Every PL season preview ]
First Rooney gave the ball away on the halfway line which saw Vardy race clear and tee up Shinji Okazaki but his shot deflected off Blind and just wide. From the resulting corner Okazaki flicked a glorious header towards goal at the near post but it hit the crossbar and came back out.
Somewhat against the run of play United went ahead as Lingard picked the ball up 40-yards out and ran straight at Leicester’s defense. After cheekily flicking the ball past Wes Morgan he was clean through and slotted it past Schmeichel. 1-0 to United as Mourinho pointed to the stands in delight.
At half time Ranieri brought on Ahmed Musa and Demarai Gray to try and inject life into Leicester’s attack. It worked.
Marouane Fellaini‘s back pass to David De Gea was woefully short and Vardy latched onto the loose ball, rounded United’s goalkeeper and slotted home. 1-1 and Leicester’s fans went wild.
Both teams made changes midway through the second half with Juan Mata and Ander Herrera coming on for United and Luis Hernandez and Nampalys Mendy coming on for Leicester.
Those substitutions broke up the rhythm of the game slightly with Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo also coming on for United, but both teams canceled each other out as Zlatan’s tame effort was cleared off the line by Danny Drinkwater.
With penalty kicks looming Ibrahimovic then rose highest in the 83rd minute as Antonio Valencia‘s pinpoint cross was headed home by the Swedish striker as he towered above Wes Morgan and sent the ball in off the far post and over the line.
As Zlatan wheeled away to celebrate in front of United’s fans, you got the sense that we will be seeing plenty more celebrations like that this season.