Manchester United 2-0 Manchester City
Manchester United continued their pursuit of the Champions League with a rousing 2-0 win over Manchester City on Sunday, courtesy of two errors from goalkeeper Ederson.
Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay netted but Ederson was at fault for both goals, seeing Martial’s effort squirm under him in the first half and then a weak kick in injury time gave McTominay the chance to finish into an empty net.
United’s win, their first in the league at home to City since 2015, means they stay within touching distance of the top four and a Champions League spot, with only three points between them and fourth place Chelsea who beat Everton 4-0 earlier in the day.
The result also means Liverpool are now only two wins from winning their first title in 30 years. City play twice before Liverpool play again, at home to Arsenal on Wednesday and then home to Burnley next Saturday. Liverpool next face Everton away on March 16.
McTominay told Sky Sports after the match: “That was such a sweet moment. Credit to the boys. Sticky first 20 minutes and we had to keep going.
“We will take confidence from that but in the coming weeks we have got to keep the run going.
“It’s such a beautiful feeling to score like that in front of the fans. But we can’t get too carried away and need to keep pushing for the Champions League.”
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added: “Anthony and Bruno have hit if off. It is a privilege to be a manager of a squad with this attitude. You can’t ask for more. They are going to improve as players as well.”
United, unbeaten now in 10, went ahead following a spell of sustained pressure. While the home side had maintained the upper hand for most of the half, City were clearly frustrated at the circumstances that allowed United to break the deadlock.
Bruno Fernandes went down under a challenge from Ilkay Gundogan and Pep Guardiola’s players immediately surrounded referee Mike Dean as he awarded United a free kick.
Fernandes took the resulting free kick and in a move that seemed straight off the training ground, chipped the ball over the City defence to a waiting Martial who volleyed it goalwards. Ederson got a touch to the ball but it wasn’t enough as it slid underneath him and into the net on the half hour mark.
United were left with their own referee complaints a little over 10 minutes later when Fred was booked for going down too easily in the area. Replays showed Nicolas Otamendi appeared to kick him in the shin but VAR and the referee decided that Fred’s reaction was disproportionate to Otamendi’s challenge and no penalty was given.
City almost had the dream start to the second half after Raheem Sterling played Sergio Aguero in, and he fired the ball into the net. However, the assistant referee raised his flag for offside and VAR found Aguero was ahead of United’s defence by the slightest of margins.
Ederson nearly granted United their second goal on 49 minutes. A terribly controlled backpass saw the goalkeeper and Martial diving for the same ball inches from the line. Ederson managed to get there just ahead of the France international, saving his blushes.
A double City substitution on the hour mark brought a renewed urgency to their attack. Aguero and Bernardo Silva came off for Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez but it wasn’t enough.
And Ederson’s nightmare afternoon was complete when a dreadful clearance found McTominay, who made no mistake in injury time as Solskjaer was left to savour a league double over Guardiola, and a third win over City this season.
“We played good, we missed a little in the final third but the second half was better and it was a good performance,” Guardiola, who has now lost seven matches in the league this season, told Sky Sports.
“We play the same way, tried the press and defend well and we did well.
“Our game is there, we played really good in terms of coming here. They wait and did long balls on the counter-attack for Daniel James and Anthony Martial.
“We did our game but unfortunately we conceded a goal. They waited for our mistakes.”