Manchester United won the 179th Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium after a stunning first 30 minutes of counter-attacking football and some resolute defending for the last hour.
The visitors might have scored on several occasions during a high-octane opening to the game, but eventually went ahead from a penalty by Marcus Rashford. Just six minutes later Anthony Martial doubled their lead with a low shot that went past Ederson at his near post.
Manchester City dominated possession and the final hour of the game but took until the 84th minute to register a reply when Nicolas Otamendi headed in from a corner. That set up a frenetic finish to the game as Ole Gunnar Solkjaer made several defensive substitutions to protect United’s lead.
The victory moves United up to fifth in the table, while City remain in third position and 14 points behind the leaders Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s hopes of a third consecutive league title might have taken a telling blow; for Solskjaer it was the culmination of a cathartic four days that began with victory over Tottenham on Wednesday.
However, the game was overshadowed by an ugly incident in the second half when Fred was hit by a missile from the City supporters and one appeared to make a racial gesture in his direction. City have promised to ban for life any fan found guilty of racial abuse.
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) celebrates
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Is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for real (again)? When he took over at United on an interim basis a year ago, a brilliant run of victories for Solskjaer secured him the job full-time. Since then it’s been a mixed bag of results for the club, leading to much sneering criticism that it was a sentimental decision that over-promoted the former Molde and Cardiff City manager just because he was a club legend.
It has been an up and down season for Solskjaer so far in 2019-20, but he has now beaten Chelsea twice, Manchester City, Leicester City and is the only manager to in the Premier League to take a point off Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. This United team are still raw and a work in progress, but there is mounting evidence to suggest that Solskjaer does indeed have more to his managerial armoury than just his legacy as a player.
Manchester City v Manchester United
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MAN OF THE MATCH
Daniel James (Manchester United): While Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all had fine games, it was the incisiveness of Daniel James that really stood out. United essentially attached with just four players, and it was the industry of James that knitted their quick counter-attacks together. His willingness to repeatedly collect the ball and drive at City’s fragile back four from deep positions underpinned United’s victory.
Manchester City: Ederson 6; Walker 5, Stones 5, Fernandinho 6, Angelino 6; Rodri 6, David Silva 7, De Bruyne 7; Bernardo 6, Sterling 7, Jesus 6. Subs: Gundogan 6, Mahrez 6, Otamendi 7
Manchester United: De Gea 7; Wan-Bissaka 6, Lindelof 6, Maguire 6, Shaw 6; McTominay 7, Fred 6, Lingard 6; James 8, Rashford 7, Martial 7. Subs: Tuanzebe 6,Young 6, Perreira 5
20’ - PENALTY? Rashford dribbles into the area and seems to have been brought down by Bernardo; VAR are checking this as David Silva tries to chip De Gea from fifty yards.
23’ - GOAL! City 0 United 1 (Rashford pen). He's tucked it away! United's in-form man stutter steps up to his kick and then sends Ederson definitively the wrong way to put United ahead.
25’ - OH WHAT A CHANCE! United break like lightning again. Fred finds Rashford in acres of space in the City area as Walker slips over, and Rashford miscues his shot and sends it wide. That could be a huge moment.
27’ - OFF THE BAR! United are taking City apart on the break here. James gets Martial away down the right, and he cuts it back to Rashford on the edge of the area. He controls it and then curls a deliciously arrogant shot onto the top of the crossbar and over.
29’ - GOAL! City 0 United 2 (Martial). Another one, and City are reeling here! Martial and James are really in the mood, and exchange a series of passes near the edge of the penalty area. James finds Martial just inside it on the right, and he slightly scuffs a low shot into the net off Ederson's near post
38’ - WHAT A CHANCE! Sterling leaves Wan-Bissaka down the right. His cross is cleared by Shaw, but City work it to De Bruyne, who whips a perfect cross in to Jesus. He's only six yards out, but the Brazilian forward glances it wide of goal.
55’ - WHAT A BLOCK BY LINDELOF! De Bruyne suddenly bursts through into United's area and shoots, but a flying block by Lindelof diverts the ball over the bar. That's excellent defending.
72’ - CHANCE! Mahrez wins a corner for City. He whips it in, David Silva of all people flicks it on and Otamendi flies in to head the ball just wide.
85’ - GOAL! City 1 United 2 (Otamendi 85). A lifeline for City! The corner is whipped to the six-yard box and Otamendi crashes in the header!
86’ - GOOD SAVE! It's all City now, and Gundogan is on for Rodri. Mahrez curls one to the bottom corner but De Gea gets a good, strong hand on it to palm the ball away.
- After their defeat to Man Utd, Man City are now 14 points behind league-leaders Liverpool; in English top-flight history, no side has ever gone on to win the title after being as many as 14 points behind the top side at the end of a day
- This is Pep Guardiola’s worst points return after the first 16 matches of a top-flight season in his managerial career (32 pts).
- This was the first time that Solskjaer has ever beaten City as a player or a manager
Stats via Opta