The Swede, signed from Paris St Germain at the age of 34, headed home in the 83rd minute to give Jose Mourinho his first silverware at United in his very first game with a 2-1 victory over the league champions.
It was the perfect end to a day for United which began with news Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba is ready to undergo a medical at Old Trafford and then got even better as Jesse Lingard scored a spectacular opener at Wembley. Leicester, who created a string of good chances and showed they still have the potential to be a force, replied through Jamie Vardy but could do nothing to prevent Ibrahimovic stealing the headlines with a textbook header from a late Antonio Valencia cross.
“I’m used to winning trophies. I didn’t come here to waste time,” he said. “It feels good. The first official game, we play for a trophy and we win. This is my 31st trophy. I’m super happy. Hopefully I can win much more than this.”
Leicester had enjoyed the better scoring chances, including a Shinji Okazaki header from a corner which cannoned back off the crossbar, when United struck first with a superb effort from Lingard. The United winger slalomed his way past both Wes Morgan and Robert Huth at high pace before calming himself to shoot right-footed past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel – a goal pundits were quick to recognise had a ‘touch of Giggs’ about it.
It was a rare chance for Mourinho’s side in a match in which they struggled to make an impact. Ibrahimovic was particularly quiet before his goal while Rooney, too, looked out of sorts. But it was Maroune Fellaini who earned boos from his own fans after sending a woefully-short back-pass to David De Gea after 52 minutes.
Vardy, lightning quick, needed no further invitation, skipping past the United goalkeeper and sliding the ball home for 1-1. It’s not difficult to surmise the arrival of Pogba leaves Fellaini’s place in jeopardy but this time he was saved by Ibrahomivic, who rose high at the far post to head home the winner after 83 minutes. It was enough to secure United’s 21st Shield and leave fans enthusiastic about the season ahead.
Schmeichel; Simpson (Hernandez 62), Morgan, Huth (Ulloa 89), Fuchs (Schlupp 80), Mahrez, King (Mendy 62), Drinkwater, Albrighton (Gray 46), Okazaki (Musa 46), Vardy.
De Gea, Valencia, Blind, Bailly, Shaw (Rojo 69), Carrick (Herrera 61), Fellaini, Lingard (Mata 63; Mkhitaryan 90)), Rooney (Schneiderlin 88), Ibrahimovic, Martial (Rashford 69)