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Zlatan Ibrahimović scores as United defeat Leicester in Community Shield


Leicester City v Manchester United - The FA Community Shield Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

José Mourinho’s first semi-competitive match as Manchester United manager has yielded silverware, with summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimović netting the winner in a 2-1 Community Shield victory over Leicester City. Jesse Lingard opened the scoring for United, only to see his first half strike cancelled out by Jamie Vardy.

The game got off to a rather slow start, with United controlling possession but Leicester’s defence affording goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel solid protection. Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw represented a consistent threat down the left, but a Marouane Fellaini snapshot was the closest United came to taking the lead in the game’s opening minutes.

Leicester had the first real chance of the match after 20, when Shinji Okazaki glanced a near-post corner off the top of David de Gea’s crossbar. It coincided with some increased Foxes pressure, though the Bailly-Daley axis was so sturdy that Vardy could find no route to goal.

The result was total deadlock, and it unsurprisingly took a moment of sheer individual brilliance to break it. It was produced by Lingard just past the half-hour mark, and came as he carved his way past at least three Leicester defenders before rolling the ball inside Schmeichel’s far post. It was the youngster’s second goal in as many matches at Wembley — the first being the winner in May’s FA Cup final — and was the standout moment in a half of mediocrity (we’re looking at you, Wayne Rooney).

Unfortunately, United's lead didn't last long into the second half. Leicester's equaliser was less the result of sublime skill than catastrophic error, with Marouane Fellaini gifting Vardy his first goal of the season after underhitting a backpass to de Gea. Vardy gleefully pounced, rounded the keeper and slotted into an open goal.

United suffered another blow a few minutes later, when the goalscorer Lingard hobbled off with an ankle injury and was replaced by Juan Mata. However, he walked over to the dugout rather than straight down the tunnel, which hopefully means the problem isn’t a serious one. Shaw and Martial soon joined Lingard on the touchline, with Marcos Rojo and Marcus Rashford making their entrances.

In spite of the fresh legs, goalscoring opportunities remained almost non-existent. That was until two inexplicably arrived in as many minutes: the first fell to Leicester’s recent record signing, Ahmed Musa, who headed a cross over the bar from point-blank range; at the other end, moments later, Ibrahimović made no mistake, and gave United the lead once more.

Having otherwise been almost completely anonymous, the Swedish striker made his mark by towering above Wes Morgan and heading an Antonio Valencia cross beyond Schmeichel for 2-1. With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Leicester couldn’t find a way back into the match, and United hung on for the victory.