Saturday, 19 March 2016

Manchester City vs Manchester Utd


Barclays Premier League | 20 March 2016 | Etihad
Stadium | Attendance: 54,557 | Scorers: Rashford

Manchester United closed the gap on rivals
Manchester City to just one point after a crucial
1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium, courtesy of
Marcus Rashford's excellent first-half strike.

The Manchester-born striker - making his first
appearance in this fixture - produced a moment to
savour on 16 minutes, showing an incredible turn of
pace to burst into the area and slot the ball past
Joe Hart. It was a mature piece of centre-forward
play, and one which was ultimately enough to
ensure the Reds left the Etihad with all three

Ahead of the game, Louis van Gaal opted to make
two changes to the side that faced Liverpool in
midweek, with Matteo Darmian and Morgan
Schneiderlin replacing Guillermo Varela and
Marouane Fellaini respectively in the starting line-
While October's reverse fixture produced a closely-
contested goalless draw, both sides showed more
intent from the off this time around, as City won a
corner in the opening minute. The game's first
chance fell for the hosts shortly after, as Darmian's
defensive header fell kindly for Jesus Navas, but
the winger's first-time volley dropped narrowly
Navas was regularly involved in the early stages
and went closer with his next effort, only to be
denied by fellow countryman David De Gea. Slick
passing between Raheem Sterling and David Silva
allowed the former to dig out a deep cross, but the
United keeper got down quickly to save with his

With little over a quarter of an hour played, though,
the Blues were made to pay for their missed
opportunities. Juan Mata found space in midfield
and picked out Rashford, who left Martin
Demichelis for dead on the edge of the box,
sprinting past the defender to calmly curl the ball

The Reds' youthful frontline was beginning to
impress, with Jesse Lingard proving a handful for
the much-changed Blues defence in the no.10 role.
And van Gaal's men might have added a second on
18 minutes, as Anthony Martial tested Hart with a
powerful drive.

The home side were quick to remind United of their
attacking intent at the other end, and should have
equalised when Silva's free-kick was headed wide
by Demichelis, but the Blues' goal threat suffered a
blow soon after when Sterling was forced off
through injury.

United might have been awarded a penalty just
before half-time, when Rashford appeared to be
brought down by Demichelis, but referee Michael
Oliver waved away any claims, and the Reds took
an important advantage into the break.

Possession: City 49% United 51%
Shots at goal: City 9 United 2
Shots on target: City 2 United 2
Corners: City 5 United 2

A first half full of incident was almost immediately
followed by a second United goal after the interval,
as Martial attempted to latch onto a short back-
pass from Demichelis, but Hart cleared the danger
just in time and suffered an injury in the process.

The goalkeeper's replacement, Willy Caballero,
might have been picking the ball out of his net
moments after coming off the bench, but produced
a fine save to deny Martial after the striker's effort
deflected towards goal.

The chance seemed to spark City into life at the
other end and, just after the hour-mark, the hosts
went close to an equaliser twice in quick
succession. First, Bacary Sagna's low cross was
almost met by substitute Wilfried Bony, but for an
excellent challenge from Chris Smalling, before
another right-wing delivery from Toure was headed
onto the woodwork by Sergio Aguero.
City were now well on top, but were struggling to
carve out any noteworthy opportunities. United,
meanwhile, soaked up the pressure expertly, and
defended a number of crosses and goal-mouth
scrambles to maintain the narrow lead.
As six minutes of added time were displayed,
United's battling display was almost cruelly undone
by Aguero, who took down Silva's diagonal ball but
pulled his shot wide, in a chance which rather
summed up City's afternoon.
Instead, the points and derby-day bragging rights
belonged to van Gaal's men, on a memorable day
for Rashford and United.

Possession: City 54% United 46%
Shots at goal: City 26 United 5
Shots on target: City 3 United 4
Corners: City 11 United 4

City: Hart (Caballero 50'), Sagna, Demichelis (Bony
53'), Mangala, Clichy, Fernandinho, Toure, Navas,
Sterling (Fernando 25'), Silva, Aguero.
Subs not used: Zabaleta, Kolarov, M.Garcia,
Booked: Mangala

United: De Gea, Darmian (Fosu-Mensah
82'), Smalling, Blind, Rojo (Valencia 62'),
Schneiderlin, Carrick, Lingard, Mata (Schweinsteiger
70'), Martial, Rashford.
Subs not used: Romero, Fellaini, Januzaj, Memphis.
Booked: Smalling

"I think it is more than three points. The position
we are in the league meant it was a must win
today. We had to get the three points before the
international break to give us a boost and
something to go at when we come back." - Michael

"When I see the dressing room, I think it shall give
a boost and real belief - it was fantastic to see. We
fight every match of course but now we have a big
result and it was a long time ago that United has
won here so it's also for the fantastic for the fans
that we have won." - Louis van Gaal


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