Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City: Visitors hold on for derby day bragging rights

Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City: Visitors hold on for derby day bragging rights

The clash had been talked up for weeks perhaps months even, but it finally came to a head this afternoon. After an exciting encounter, Manchester was blue.

Oscar Norman

You couldn't escape it, the build-up has been everywhere. The 172nd Manchester Derby came and went in a flash, and it was Manchester City who ran out 2-1 winners.

City got off to the perfect start and were 2-0 up within half an hour thanks to Kevin de Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic clawed one back for Manchester United before the break, but they couldn't find the crucial second goal.

City waste no time

The first chance fell to the Manchester City, as a dangerous low ball from de Bruyne fizzed across the Manchester United six yard box to only just evade the onrushing Raheem Sterling. United responded a few minutes later, when Paul Pogba struck a ferocious and bending shot towards Claudio Bravo but it flew wide in the end. City remained comfortable for much of the half; their passing was fluid and they were confident in possession, United struggled to prise the ball from City's grasp. 

On the 15-minute mark de Bruyne was slipped through by Iheanacho's flicked header and was left one on one with David de Gea, leaving the Belgian to slot home coolly. City then began to assert themselves, even more effective with possession and efficient in winning it back when lost. 

It got even better for the visitors not long after when de Bruyne's shot struck the post and Iheanacho was alert to scoop home the rebound. At that point, City were slowly running away with the game. However, Ibrahimovic was gifted a chance on the 42nd minute when Bravo dropped the ball from a looping free kick. The Swede volleyed home comfortably to pull one back for the Reds. A nervy end to the half followed for both sides. 

United begin their fightback

The second half got underway with Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera replacing Henrikh Mkhitaryn and Jesse Lingard. Rashford, having been in fine form for the England U21s, immediately made his presence known. He broke down the flank and he drilled an excellent cross towards Ibrahimovic, who lashed out at it and sent the ball high in to the stands. 

With United's resurgence becoming ever more intense, Kelechi Iheanacho was taken off for Fernando to solidify the midfield. Bravo was incredibly lucky not to concede a penalty, a poor touch meant a last ditch tackle was required from the Chilean who tackled Rooney with studs showing; Old Trafford was enraged. Sensing the need for an attacking change, Leroy Sané made his City debut on the hour mark for Raheem Sterling. 

United thought they had their equaliser when Rashford's shot deflected kindly for Ibrahimovic, though the Swede was clearly offside and had the goal ruled out.

City nearly had their third seconds later from a corner, as Fernandinho's excellent volley was superbly saved by de Gea. With 15 minutes to go De Bruyne could've sealed the win for the Blues. He was slipped through by Sané but his shot struck the post and painfully trickled past the goal mouth.

City survive, but not by much

Mourinho's last roll of the dice saw the introduction of Anthony Martial, with Luke Shaw making way for the Frenchman. With the game inching closer to full time Pablo Zabaleta replaced De Bruyne, as five minutes added time guaranteed it'd be an incredibly tense finish. A flurry of chances fell to Ibrahimovic, his composure however seemingly left him at the crucial moment he is normally so trustworthy in; nail biting stuff. 

Despite United's best efforts the City defence held firm till the end. It was far from plain sailing though as Ibrahimovic's late first half goal had somewhat energised United. On a day where only a win would do, City came up with the goods making it six wins out of six for Guardiola.