Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City
Manchester City struck the first blow in the Premier League title race, beating Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford today.
Kevin De Bruyne gave City a deserved lead early on, slotting home from just outside the area having run through one-on-one, before Kelechi Iheanacho’s simple finish made it 2-0 on 36 minutes, reacting quickly after De Bruyne had hit the post.
On his Premier League debut, Claudio Bravo’s failure to deal with a deep cross led to Zlatan Ibrahimovic halving the deficit with a volley, while De Bruyne hit the post again for the visitors during a frantic second half full of a chances for both sides.
The result means Pep Guardiola’s City continue their 100 per cent start to the season, and in-turn gives the Spaniard his eighth victory over a Jose Mourinho side in 17 meetings.
Mourinho sprung a surprise before kick-off, giving Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan their first Premier League starts of the season, while Guardiola changed his full-backs, bringing in Bacary Sagna and Aleksandar Kolarov.
After dominating possession early on, City took the lead on 15 minutes, De Bruyne getting ahead of Daley Blind after Iheanacho’s headed flick-on before giving De Gea the eyes from 20 yards.
City continued to press, and were 2-0 up with nine minutes of the half remaining through Iheanacho, the man given the nod to replace the suspended Sergio Aguero. After De Bruyne had hit the bottom of the far post from an angle, the ball fell kindly for Iheanacho to slot home for his 15th goal in a City shirt.
Mourinho’s United were stunned, and it showed in their nervousness on the ball, but Bravo handed them a passage back into the game three minutes before half-time. Coming out to collect a deep free-kick from Wayne Rooney, the Chilean’s weak punch fell into the path of Ibrahimovic, who carefully placed the ball home from 18 yards on the half-volley.
Bravo was at it again moments later, racing out to clear the ball before Lingard, who got there before him and laid the ball on for Ibrahimovic, whose weak effort was cleared off the line.
Mourinho replaced Mkhitaryan and Lingard at the break, bringing on Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera, and it was United who started the second half the fastest.
Ibrahimovic slammed the ball over the bar from Rashford’s left-wing cross, before his half-volley from Marouane Fellaini’s knock-down flew the same direction. Bravo could have seen red moments later, flying in with studs up on Rooney after a heavy touch inside the area, but referee Mark Clattenburg was unmoved.
United had the ball in the net with 20 minutes remaining, Rashford’s effort taking a touch off Ibrahimovic and drifting past Bravo, but the Swede had crept into an offside position.
City then had a purple patch. First, Fernandinho’s header from De Bruyne’s corner was acrobatically saved by De Gea, before Bailly denied Nolito at the rebound.
De Bruyne, who was played through by substitute Leroy Sane, then hit the near post from inside the area, and watched the ball agonisingly roll across the goal line and out of play.
David Silva’s curling effort then went inches over De Gea’s bar moments later, before an onslaught on City’s goal in the final five minutes.
Nicolas Otamendi produced a superb block to deny Rooney inside the area, and the Argentine was at it again a minute later to clear Ibrahimovic’s knock-down for the England striker inside the six-yard box.
United pressed and pressed in stoppage time with Ibrahimovic seeing an effort deflected just wide from 20 yards but City eventually held on for a vital win.
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw (81′), Fellaini, Pogba, Mkhitaryan (46′), Rooney, Lingard (46′), Ibrahimovic. Subs: Herrera (46′), Rashford (46′), Martial (81′).
Manchester City: Bravo, Sagna, Otamendi, Stones, Kolarov, Fernandinho, De Bruyne (90′), Silva, Sterling (60′), Nolito, Iheanacho (53′). Subs: Fernando (53′), Sane (60′),Zabaleta (90′).
Referee: Mark Clattenburg