Manchester United boosted their growing UEFA Champions League hosts as they beat rivals Manchester City 2-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday evening.
Anthony Martial gave the Red Devils the lead in the first-half as his volleyed shot slipped through Ederson’s grasp. The visitors did have the ball in the net through Sergio Aguero in the second-half but his strike was ruled out for offside. That gave the Red Devils a considerable boost and they sealed the win late on as Scott McTominay picked off a dreadful throw from Ederson and powered a great shot in from distance as United closed to within two points of the top four.
Half chances early on
Despite having never scored in a Manchester derby, it was Raheem Sterling who had the best opportunity of the opening stages as he was picked out by Phil Foden. The forward aimed for the far corner with a curling effort but David De Gea managed to palm away.
The hosts did have moments of their own throughout the first-half. Daniel James put a shot straight at De Gea, whilst Martial’s goal-bound shot was easily stopped by Ederson.
Ederson howler gives United the lead
United grew more dominant as the opening period progressed and got a deserved lead, albeit through somewhat fortunate circumstances. Bruno Fernandes chipped a clever free-kick through to Martial who tried to volley the ball home at the near post. Just as it looked as though it would be an easy save for Ederson, the Brazilian allowed the ball to squirm underneath his body and into the back of the net.
The scoreline could potentially have been even better for the Red Devils heading into the break as Fred was seemingly kicked in the penalty area by Otamendi. Instead of a spot-kick though, the Brazilian was instead booked for diving, with VAR bafflingly remaining with the original decision.
Refereeing decisions cost City
For all of United’s dominance, it seemed as though the visitors struck an equaliser just after the restart through Sergio Aguero. The Argentine struck clinically after being played in behind but the offside flag was raised. VAR agreed with that decision despite replays suggesting that Aguero was in-line.
Another mistake from Ederson almost saw United get a second as his poor touch almost saw the ball roll into the path of Martial but he just about managed to clear the ball before the Frenchman equalised.
Both sides did have more chances to impact the scoreline. Daniel James was the next to produce as he motored past Otamendi before putting his shot straight at Ederson. Substitute Riyad Mahrez also had a few opportunities, especially to assist an equaliser but Sterling failed to convert the Algerian’s brilliant cross when in front of goal.
McTominay seals victory late on
With City applying severe pressure late on, there were chances for the hosts to seal the game on the break and that is exactly what happened as Ederson’s dreadful throw was picked off by substitute McTominay. Some distance out, the Scotsman struck with a brilliant shot that flew into the back of the net and finally seal a dogged but thoroughly deserved victory for Manchester United.
United’s performance wasn’t necessarily blessed with wonderful attacking football but the Red Devils were determined throughout the whole game to earn victory. They were better than their rivals, with the win potentially key in them earning a Champions League place.
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