Manchester United 2 0 Manchester City – United Continue Good Run of Form
English Premier League: Manchester United v Manchester City review – Old Trafford – Sunday, 8 March 2020
Manchester United 2 0 Manchester City Review
Coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United scored a momentous 2-0 win over rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday much to joy of delirious fans at the venue.
The game began at a hot pace with both sides getting glimpses of early chances with Raheem Sterling's curling shot pared away by United goalie David De Gea and winger Daniel James's shot saved by Ederson at the other end.
But it was the hosts who forged ahead when they were awarded a hotly contested free kick by referee Mike Dean for a foul by Ilkay Gundogan on Bruno Fernandes not far outside the box.
Bruno Fernandes' free kick was a lob that eluded the City defense and fell wonderfully for Anthony Martial to execute a grounder that could have been saved by Ederson but it somehow rolled under him into the net by the near post.
It was 1-0 to United with only 30 minutes of playing time gone.
After the break, Sergio Aguero thought he had equalized only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Pep Guardiola introduced Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus for Aguero and Bernando Silva in a bid to seize the initiative in a game that seemed to be slipping away from City.
The visitors consequently started to dominate the ball and press United back into their own half. Both Gabriel Jesus and Sterling forced saves out of goalkeeper De Gea as the second half went on.
Sterling then had the best chance for the visitors but failed to land a clean connection in diverting a cross past into the United goal.
But for all of City's possession (as high as 72 per cent), United showed great resilience and looked more dangerous than their rivals on the break.
In fact, United were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty when Nicolas Otamendi made contact with Fred inside the area. So much so, that the Brazilian was shown the yellow card and even more mystifying was the VAR's failure to intervene.
United managed to hold on and in the dying stages were rewarded with one more goal from an unlikely source. City goalie Ederson's throw found Scott McTominay instead of a teammate and the Scotsman introduced in the 78th minute in place of Martial, fired the ball from 40 yards past the hapless custodian to seal an emphatic win for the Red Devils.
For Red Devils fans and manager Solskjaer, the great thing has been the emergence of Bruno Fernandes as the driving force in the mid-field.
The young Portuguese has justified his steep signing from Sporting Lisbon with class and creativity that has earned the club such success of late. Not to forget the great work at the back from defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, especially in the City game where he hounded Sterling for much of the 90 minutes and even beyond.
Manchester United who have looked off the Top four for better part of the season are now in contention for the coveted space – coming within 2 points of fourth-placed Chelsea's 48 – and much of the credit must be given to Solskjaer for fashioning this revival.
Manchester City's defeat is hardly damaging in the context of their Premier League title defence – that was lost to Liverpool a long time ago.
Guardiola's focus now will be on Champions League last-16 second leg meeting with Real Madrid next week at the Emirates where he would like to fancy his chances of making it to the next round what with side claiming a commanding 2-1 advantage at the Bernabeu.
Manchester United's starting line-up (3-5-2): De Gea (goal); Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; Williams (Bailly 78), Wan-Bissaka, Matic, Fred, Fernandes (Ighalo 88); James, Martial (McTominay 78)
Substitutes not used: Greenwood, Mata, Romero, Tuanzebe
Manchester City's starting line-up: (4-3-3): Ederson (goal); Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko (Mendy 77); B Silva (Mahrez 59), Rodri, Gundogan; Foden, Sterling, Aguero (Jesus 59)
Substitutes not used: Bravo, Garcia, Silva, Walker
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