Cape Town - Sunderland became clear favorites for the drop following the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United in their English Premier League clash at the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon.
Sunderland came into this fixture ten points adrift from safety, desperately needing maximum points.
However, their lack of urgency from the first whistle allowed Manchester United to control the game, with frequent goal-scoring opportunities in the opening half.
Jesse Lingard was given freedom of the area in the opening ten minutes, but his shot flew straight into the arms of Jordan Pickford.
Shortly after, the much maligned Luke Shaw went on a marauding until the byline and whipped in a decent delivery, only for United captain Marouane Fellaini to squander his effort from six-yards out.
Nonetheless, the near misses didn't go punished by the lacklustre Black Cats as Ibrahimovic opened the scoring with a moment of individual brilliance on the half-hour mark.
The Swede did well to hold up the ball just outside the area, before using Paul Pogba's late run as a decoy to engineer some space. The former PSG striker then had room to unleash a fierce low strike into the bottom right corner of Pickford's net.
David Moyes' afternoon went from bad to worse, just before the break when midfielder Sebastian Larsson received his marching orders for a studs up challenge on Andre Herrera, for his first red card as a senior professional.
It was a case of damage limitation for the home side in the second-half, but they got off to the worst possible restart.
Without touching the ball, 46 seconds in, Henrikh Mkhitaryan who had a quiet opening first-half, slotted home a second with Lamine Kone and the rest of his defence completely static during the build up.
It was cruise control for the Red Devils from there on in, as Sunderland and their supporters seemed resigned to defeat and possibly relegation.
The vistors boss Jose Mourinho looked frustrated as the half wore on, fully expecting his side to find the net again before full-time, and they eventually did through second-half substitute Rashford.
A classic counter from the English giants, with Ibrahimovic having the option of Anthony Martial on his left and the England international to his right. The veteran striker found the teenager just inside the area to smash home a confident strike, ending his 19-game goal drought.
The three points put United back into fifth, four points behind rivals Manchester City - with a game in hand.