On a day of derbies, the Manchester derby was more enthralling and scintillating than its Merseyside counterpart, which was a goalless bore. United showed resilience and determination, which helped it to produce a tremendous comeback against City.
City’s hegemony in the first half saw it produce two goals, scored by skipper Vincent Kompany and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. United lacked possession as well as passion in the first half. City had a plethora of chances but Raheem Sterling’s inaccuracy prevented it from capitalising on them. United’s defence, with Chris Smalling at the heart of it, was in shambles.
A different half, a different team
Come second half and the City players were in disarray as a rejuvenated United came to the fore. For the next 45 minutes, Jose Mourinho’s men had the maximum possession and were bombarding their “noisy neighbour’s” with attacks every second. After receiving a lot of flak from the media and the pundits, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez showed their class, leading the United charge. Pogba’s twin goals should boost his confidence and consistency. Smalling scored the match winner, compensating for his mistake in Kompany’s early goal.
Drama and passion
Sergio Aguero, who has a few goals against United, and City’s talisman, Kevin De Bruyne, were brought in late to salvage a point and for the last few minutes, City was in the driving seat. But once again David de Gea proved his credentials by pulling off an out-of-this-world save, denying an Aguero header. Another controversial part of this game was Young’s tackle on Aguero. Hailed by many pundits as a sure shot penalty, it looked like he got the ball first.
This was City’s second loss in a row. It had earlier lost to Liverpool in the Champions League. All the teams in the Premier League have been intimidated by Guardiola’s wards and have allowed City to dictate games. The key to beat City is to exert pressure and attack freely, as proved by Liverpool twice, and now United.
(The author is a Standard XII student of La Martiniere for Boys, Kolkata)
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