Manchester United clawed and battered their way to a 1-0 victory against their under-strength city rivals as the 4th round clash of the EFL Cup proved to be a merry event for Jose Mourinho and his players.
The match was started by Manchester City with a team that lacked certain firepower in the final third and by that we mean no Sergio Aguero and no Kevin De Bruyne.
Aguero was on the subs bench whereas De Bruyne is still recovering from his injury.
Even then, Manchester City showed some flair in the 2nd minute when Navas floated a ball in for Iheancho and the young striker headed it just inches over the bar.
The game was fairly balanced instead of providing any real attacking action for the following minutes, with both teams looking to boss possession.
The half hour mark saw no further change into the game, with both teams showing attacking intent but either lacked the service to provide the final ball (United) or just lacked a good finishing touch (City).
Jesus Navas continued to cause trouble for Manchester United’s defence as his runs on the right provided plenty of zip and intensity that the City attack is famous for but was in dire need of it today.
It was all in vain though, as his crosses weren’t getting the final touch due to either poor reception or being cleared away by Man United’s dogged defence.
The match started with a really positive note for Man United post half time as their two star players combined for a super move.
Ibrahimovic put Paul Pogba through on goal and it was the Frenchman who took it in stride and hit the post as his shot was tipped to it by Willy Caballero.
Seconds later, it was Pogba again who shot the ball narrowly wide after a good run by Rashford.
In the 53rd minute, Manchester City could have taken the lead as Iheanacho played a square pass into the 6 yard box, only to see that no one was on the other end to poke it home.
But Man United’s patience was rewarded in some fashion as it was Juan Mata who scored and broke the deadlock of the game to put United ahead, after being teed up by Ibrahimovic.
It was a moment of joy for the United supporters who were getting demanding to witness attacking football and an intent to make a mark in big games.
It was also ironic as the goal was scored by the same player who was benched and sold by Mourinho to Manchester United during his Chelsea days.
Nevertheless, United were ahead and running.
It was United again who threatened as Ibrahimovic missed a close shot after Rashford teed him up. The 18-year old is undoubtedly one of United’s finest.
City tried to salvage the game by bringing in Aguero and Raheem Sterling and it was to no avail as they couldn’t help City’s poor shot-on-goal statistics, which was, well.. 0.
There was nothing spectacular to report for the following minutes and till 4 minutes of injury time as United showed resilience and intent to take the game.
Mourinho had psychologically won vs Guardiola and the results on the pitch proved it as Manchester City have now gone 6 GAMES WITHOUT A WIN UNDER PEP GUARDIOLA.
Yup, you heard that right.
Mourinho’s men made a bold statement. Here’s hoping they carry this forward and continue to impress.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.