The 2018 Manchester Derby kicked off at the Etihad stadium on April 07, 2018. It was a match that was very much anticipated as it was a clash between the two biggest football clubs in England now. The hosts, Manchester City came in the match with much anticipation that they would be the winners of the 2017/2018 English Premier League title, as they believed that they would beat Manchester United. However, the current league leaders were made to wait for another match at least when they were embarrassingly defeated 3-2 by Manchester United.
At the end of the match, almost everyone in the premier league were talking about Manchester United vs Manchester City 2018 derby match. Football fans from all over the world were talking about the match, and here I am, to give my input about the match.
Manchester City ruled the first half
The match started with both teams evenly poised and, according to Jose Mourinho in a post-match interview, under control by the Manchester United players, until the 25th minute of the match. The first goal of the match came in the 25th minute when Vincent Kompany, Man City’s defender and captain scored a brilliant header from a corner kick. Kompany was able to easily shove of the challenge put on by Chris Smalling and then headed the ball into the back of David de Gea’s net.
Not much attack was being displayed by the Manchester United players during this half as the City players had most of the ball and were able to create chance after chance to score. So, the defense had to work hard to try to prevent the City players from scoring.
David de Gea had to make a ‘cool’ save with his right leg when Bernado Silva tried to toe-poke a ball past him into the goal.
The goal brought joyful celebration for the City players, the manager, Pep Guardiola, and their fans as well. At first, for me, it was disheartening, but I knew the match wasn’t finished. The second goal came 5 minutes later as, in the 30th minute, Gundogan scored a very brilliant goal to make it 2-0. This goal sent the City supporters into a frenzy of celebration as they were jubilant that they have now won the match and will be crowned the EPL champions for the season.
The City players were even more joyful now because the match was Manchester Derby, and so, winning this match would be very important and give them more bragging rights as they would have beaten their neighbouring rivals.
Manchester United players were being embarrassed
At the end of the first half, there were many sports journalists, analysts and commentators saying that the 2-0 lead was an embarrassment to Manchester United players because they had little possession of the ball and also they hardly created any chances in the first 45 minutes.
The two City goals, although they were brilliant, were done in embarrassing manner. The first goal came as Vincent Kompany was able beat all players around him, including Chris Smalling who seemed as if he was not marking Kompany. However, the second goal was even more embarrassing as Gundogan made a very brilliant turn to score a right-footed goal. The ball was kicked low and hard on the ground to beat David de Gea. The goal could have been prevented, but the pass made by Raheem Sterling (Man City #7) was a brilliant one and so Gundogan, being surrounded by about three United players, made his brilliant turn, made his shot and scored.
Before the first goal, there was loud appeal for handball against Ashley Young as he had slipped and fell. He tried to heat the ball away while on the ground and it appeared that the ball was handled. Whether the ball touched his hand, it was not seen as penalty because the ‘handed-ball’ was unintentional or, you could say that it was ball to hand.
There is a rule that says that ball to hand in the penalty box you as the referee should not award a penalty.
After the two goals were scored Raheem Sterling- Manchester City’s #7 and one of their key players, had two very good chances to make it 3-0 in favour of Manchester City but twice put the ball over the bar. This was much to the relief of the Manchester United players and the fans as well. Sterling got a third chance in the first half to make it 3-0, from a brilliant pass by Sane, but saw his low left-footed shot scooped up by David de Gea.
Gundogan had a chance to score his second of the match but, his free header was caught by a standing David de Gea.
Pep Guardiola decided to rest his key players – Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, while they watched their teammates dominate United for the first half. One commentator said that the Manchester City bench must have been among one of the most potent benches the premier league as ever known. He said this because the bench had two of the best quality players in the EPL now.
Pogba and Smalling score to complete Man United’s comeback
The United players returned from the half time break feeling relaxed and inspired by whatever they were told by Jose Mourinho. The players had more possession of the ball and were creating more chances. Pogba was getting more of the ball, and so did Alexis Sanchez.
The France international was finding himself running freely because he had more space to move about, and so was able to score the first goal.
Paul Pogba was very instrumental in Manchester United’s comeback as he scored the first goal and then the second or equaliser. The first goal came in the 53rd minute and the second came just 2 minutes later in the 55th minute. The goal came because of a brilliant play by Alexis Sanchez who made an air pass to Nemanja Matic, who chested the ball down on the ground towards Paul Pogba, who ran onto the ball and made a timely shot to defeat Ederson (Manchester City’s goalkeeper).
The second goal by Pogba was terrific! He capitalised onto a cross from Alexis Sanchez to make a brilliant header, which was almost with the back of his head, past Ederson to make it 2-2!
The match continued at 2-2 with both teams trying to score at both ends of the pitch.
Chris Smalling gave Manchester United the lead with a brilliant volley in the 69th minute.
This amazing goal by was scored as Smalling played a ‘run-on’ onto a chip in from Alexis Sanchez. The goal gave Manchester United the lead and the victory, and it was Alexis Sanchez’s second goal assistance of the day.
How the third goal came about
Manchester United was making an attack on goal when Alexis Sanchez was fouled a couple yards outside the 18-yard box. Several United and City players were lined-up in the 18-yard box area, waiting on Sanchez’s cross. When the cross was finally made, Smalling ran past Outamendi (a Man City defender) and made a volley past Ederson.
The game became the talk of the weekend on Social media
All over the world, football fans, especially United fans, took to social media such as YouTube and Instagram to express their joy of the result. Even though it was not a victory for the premier league title but, it was a derby victory for Manchester United at the Etihad and a form of revenge as United were defeated 2-1 at Old Trafford in the first derby match of the 2017/2018 EPL season.
The victory meant City would not be crowned premier league champions just yet.
Manchester United fans with fan pages of United players or Manchester United, took to Instagram to post pics and videos of the match on their Instagram account. I was also a part of that excitement as I also posted a few pics on my Instagram account. I also commented on some posts on other Instagram accounts as well as videos on YouTube.
There are many photos that can be found posted on various Instagram accounts. I have two posted here. The first is this brilliant save made by David de Gea. The second is this ‘poster’ or ‘cartoon’ made to mock the city fans at the Etihad stadium when they lost the match.
Paul Pogba was awarded the match, and deserving so, after he put a brilliant performance to help his teammates rally and triumph over Manchester City.
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Manchester United is set to finish in the top two
It is not a question of if Manchester City will win the EPL title this season, but, it is a matter of when. At the end of the match, Manchester United were on 71 points and Manchester City on 84 points after 32 matches played. Manchester United aim now is to finish the season in second position, while Manchester City hopes to finish the league with the highest number of points to win an EPL title so far.
Manchester will only need to keep in good form and win a couple of the remaining matches to ensure that they are second when the EPL season ends in May.
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