Swede strike sends Red Devils crashing
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The home side took the lead in the first half thanks to Victor Sikora's goal just before half time and doubled their advantage when Ibrahimovic scored, however Paul Scholes netted a late consolation for the visitors.
All the pre-match attention had been pointed towards United's new £30 million signing Rio Ferdinand, who was making his first start since moving from Leeds United, however it was the Dutch champions who grabbed all the headlines.
Ajax began the stronger of the sides and it was Sikora, who nearly joined Premiership side Fulham, who created the first chance of the match when he cut in from the left and unleashed a powerful shot just wide of Fabien Barthez's net.
Only moments after Brazilian Maxwell tested Barthez with a close-range shot, the Frenchman could only watch as Andy van der Mayde's cross from the right found Rafael van der Vaart who crashed his header against United's cross bar.
The lucky escape for the Red Devils kick-started their match and Ruud van Nistelrooy then forced young keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who was playing following an injury to Bogdan Lobont, into making an excellent low save.
However, Ajax were not to be denied and took a thoroughly deserved lead when their free-kick deflected off the United wall straight to Sikora, who made no mistake beating Barthez at the near post.
Van Nistelrooy at the other end kept causing problems for the Dutch champions, however the star saw his effort blocked in the box by the impressive Andre Bergdolmo.
The former PSV Eindhoven star always looked the most likely player to score for the visitors, but again could not beat the impressive Stekelenburg after beating Romanian Cristian Chivu to the ball.
Both sides made numerous chances at the break with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson deciding to take off star midfielder David Beckham and Juan Sebastian Veron.
However, the changes did not seem to affect the visitors, who started to take control of the match and to dominate possession.
Disgraced Irish World Cup star Roy Keane was next to test Stekelenburg with a superb rasping drive, however the youngster was equal to the effort making an excellent save.
Just when it looked like United were about to turn the screw, the home side all but sealed the match with a killer second goal.
United were trying to replace Barthez with Roy Carroll, however Ibrahimovic burst through and beat the former Monaco keeper drilling the ball into the corner of the net.
However, United did make a Ajax sweat over the victory when Keane's delightful cross was found by Scholes who volleyed past Stekelenburg with a right-footed shot.
Despite the defeat Ferguson was upbeat about the performance saying: "The plus side for us was the English players got a run out. We didn't look sharp enough.
"They were more competitive then us. We'll be much better on Sunday."
Click here to see highlights from United's pre-season match against Ajax in the Amsterdam tournament.