Otamendi strikes massive blow in EPL title race as City beats United 2-1

Manchester City curiously scored twice from set-piece situations to beat Manchester United 2-1 and seize control of the title race.

Published : Dec 11, 2017 00:22 IST

Nicolas Otamendi celebrates after scoring against Manchester United on Sunday.
Nicolas Otamendi celebrates after scoring against Manchester United on Sunday.

Nicolas Otamendi celebrates after scoring against Manchester United on Sunday.

Nicolas Otamendi was the surprise hero as Manchester City secured a 2-1 derby win over Manchester United to move 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

The Argentina defender struck in the second half after Marcus Rashford cancelled out David Silva's opener, ensuring a record-equalling 14th win in a row in the top flight for Pep Guardiola's side.


Much had been made before the game of City's vulnerability from set-pieces and it was a curious quirk of fate to see it triumph at Old Trafford for the second year in a row by virtue of two dead-ball situations.

United took a 40-game unbeaten home run, including a 100 per cent record this season, into the match, but City was the dominant force from the outset and deserved the lead Silva secured in the 43rd minute.

Rashford capitalised on some slack defending to draw United level, but the host was punished for failing to clear the lines again nine minutes after the break, as Otamendi finished in style.

READ: Manchester City's 14th win on the trot sets new top-flight record

United was denied twice at the death by Ederson and the result leaves it with a daunting gap to its neighbour, which looks to be on an unstoppable march towards the title after only 16 matches, with Pep Guardiola also enjoying the bragging rights over Jose Mourinho.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, City dominated possession in the early exchanges against a United side who lined up with Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard all in support of striker Romelu Lukaku.

Manchester City dominated the Manchester derby with greater possession and more number of shots on goal as well.

City's first chance fell to Raheem Sterling, who shot straight at David de Gea, before Gabriel Jesus produced a similarly tame finish after surging clear into the penalty area past Marcos Rojo.

Jesus incurred the wrath of Mourinho when he went to ground under little contact in the United area, but it was the home support who appeared most frustrated with the half as they watched their side sit deep and offer next to nothing in attack.

De Gea made his first real save of note four minutes before the interval, tipping over Leroy Sane's effort from close range, but it proved a futile piece of agility as City snatched the lead moments later.

Lukaku misjudged his header from the resulting corner and the ball fell kindly to David Silva, who prodded home from inside the six-yard box.

ALSO READ: Herrera denied clear penalty in derby defeat, claims Mourinho

The goal seemed to spark United into life suddenly, with Martial at last testing Ederson, and the side snatched an equaliser in first-half injury time when Rashford pounced on Fabian Delph's failure to clear and slotted home from 12 yards out.

But City regained its lead nine minutes into the second half in remarkably similar fashion to their opening goal. Lukaku's attempted clearance from Silva's free-kick went straight against Chris Smalling and fell to Otamendi, who steered the ball acrobatically into the net.

City's control of the ball showed no sign of waning and De Gea was called upon to make a fine low save to deny Kevin De Bruyne, although Rashford stung the palms of Ederson after another Delph error as Mourinho turned to substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic for hope.

ALSO READ: Mourinho admits title race 'probably' over

Ederson pulled off a brilliant double save to deny Lukaku and Juan Mata six minutes from time, depriving United of a second equaliser and putting the title race firmly in City's grasp as it became the first side to win 14 consecutive top-flight games in a single season.

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