City were more than a shade unfortunate to lose the fourth Manchester derby of the season to a first-half Anthony Martial goal and a late second from Scott McTominay. In a fast-paced and entertaining game, City just couldn’t find the equaliser a dominant second period deserved.
WHAT HAPPENED? City started with some bright, attacking football that had United pinned back for the opening moments and a lovely move involving Sergio Aguero, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling saw the England forward curl a low drive that David De Gea did well to push around. But for all the bright approach play, it was United who opened the scoring on the half-hour, though the free-kick that lead to the goal had City players fuming as Bruno Fernandes made the most of an Ilkay Gundogan challenge. The Portuguese then lobbed a pass into Anthony Martial’s path and the French striker’s volley squirmed under Ederson. City came close to levelling four minutes after the restart when Sterling sent Aguero clear and the Argentinian thumped the ball home from 18 yards – the flag was up but a VAR check revealed it was a marginal call. Ederson was then almost caught out as he mis-controlled a back pass on his goal-line and Martial was denied by the Brazilian’s sliding tackle as he was about to tap home. City responded minutes later with a sizzling Foden shot from 20-yards that De Gea did well to tip over. On the hour, Pep brought on Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez, moving Foden into a more central midfield role and the changes gave City a sharper, more dynamic look. Then came our best chance yet to pull level when Mahrez was sent clear on the right but as his low cross found Sterling, the ball just evaded the City man and a glorious chance went begging. It was the last real opportunity of the game for City who just found that one clear-cut opportunity. And deep into added time, Ederson uncharacteristically under-hit a clearance and McTominay swept into the empty net from midway inside the City half. It just wasn't our day.
CITY’S TARGETS IN FOCUS City will always believe they can beat whoever they are facing, whether that is Real Madrid, Manchester United or whoever. But with the Premier League title race seemingly reaching an inevitable conclusion, the opportunity to win the FA Cup and Champions League still a possibility, those trophies will surely take precedence in the final few months of the campaign. That said, this defeat felt a little harsh.
WHAT IT MEANS… City remain seven points clear of third-placed Leicester with both teams having 10 games remaining.
City host Arsenal on Wednesday evening in a rearranged Premier League fixture (7.30pm kick-off) before another home game on Saturday against Burnley (3pm kick-off).
Manchester United (2): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Williams (Bailly, m.78); Matic, Fred, Fernandes (Ighalo, m.88); James y Martial (McTominay, m.78)
Manchester City (0): Ederson; Zinchenko (Mendy, m.77), Otamendi, Fernandinho, Cancelo; Gündogan, Rodri, B.Silva (Mahrez, m.59); Sterling, Agüero (Jesús, m.59) y Foden.
Goals: 1-0. Martial, m.30 y 2-0. McTominay, m.96.
Referee: Mike Dean. Bookings: Fred (m.42), Fernandinho (m.29), Rodri (m.30) y Cancelo (m.59)