Goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho secured Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Manchester United in a high-octane derby at Old Trafford on Saturday. Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled one back for United but the rock-solid Man City defense manged to hold on to the lead.
Manchester City dominated possession and pushed more men forward to clinch an early goal. Guardiola’s philosophy was immaculately executed as Manchester City worked the ball all over the pitch in circles and threatened the vulnerable Man Utd defense.
Jose Mourinho chose to begin without Mata and Martial and in their place he brought in Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lingard for the high-voltage derby.
Man Utd struggled to keep possession and gave the ball away in the middle. The United defense looked out of shape as they failed to counter the pace of De Bruyne and Nolito down the fanks.
Kevin de Bryune repeatedly threatened the lack lustre Man Utd defense before scoring the opener for City in the 15th minute.
Kolarov whipped in a long pass to pick Iheanacho who headed the ball to find De Bryune. The Belgian raided past Blind before slotting the ball home into the bottom corner.
Man City basked in confidence after scoring early before new man Iheanacho doubled the lead in the in the 36th minute.
De Bruyne controlled the ball in the middle before launching a strike at the bottom left orner. The ball hit the far post and the rebound found Iheanacho, who slided the ball into the empty net from 6 yards.
However, Man Utd came back strong during the fag end of the first half and Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled one back in the 43nd minute.
A blunder on debut from Bravo, who rushed forward and failed to gather a cross before dropping the ball at the feet of Ibrahimovic. The Flying Swede launced a venomous volley into the top corner to keep United’s hopes alive before the break.
Mourinho took off Mkhitaryan and Lingard after the break and brought in Rashford and Herrerra in order to infuse more creativity into the game.
Man Utd looked more convincing after the break and played as a cohesive unit but Man City clearly dominated on the counters – trademark Guardiola tiki-taka and false nines.
Man Utd had a chance to clinch an equaliser in the 66th minute when Fellaini got on the end of a long ball to pick Ibrahimovic, whose volley went inches over the bar.
Rashford found the net in the 70th minute but the referee signalled for offside as the ball took a deflection off Ibrahimovic, who was in an offside position.
Man City almost put the game to bed in the 74th minute but his low effort on goal hit the post and rolled along the goalline before going out for goal-kick.
Manchester United had a golden opportunity to clinch an equaliser in the 95th minute but new man Stones came to City’s rescue. Ibrahimovic flicked the ball towards goal with Bravo rushing forward to collect it. Pogba knocked the ball past the keeper but his weak effort was comfortably cleared the danger.
Pep scored a goal over Jose. But this season promises to be fascinating. A rivalry renewed, a city rejuvenated, a friendship revived or maybe not! Who cares. Because this is just riveting. Bring it on.