10th September 2016, witnessed the commencement of the 172nd Manchester Derby at Old Trafford in Manchester (Duh!). Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola resume their rivalry with this Derby. Not taking the result into consideration the match was an exciting one.
In the first 45 minutes of the match, Manchester United was visibly distraught and Manchester City dominated the field. 15 minutes into the match, Kevin De Bruyne scored in the lower left corner of the goal post after taking on United’s David De Gea one on one. Taking on this early advantage boosted the morale of an already dominating City side. The passing and receiving of the players was top class and United had a hard time keeping up with the pace of the passing. On the other side, United’s passing was not like it was not like the first few matches. It seemed that they had lost the momentum and motivation which they had at the beginning of the seasons in the first few matches.
At the 36th minute, Kelechi Iheanacho of City scored a goal by shooting the ball which had ricocheted off David De Gea, securing a 2 goal lead over United. After this point it was felt that City had bagged the game. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a few tricks up his sleeve, in the 42nd minute United won a free kick, Wayne Rooney launched a volley which City’s goalkeeper, Bravo ran out to intercept but after a mistiming in his punch, the ball went straight to Ibrahimovic, which he with great technique put it in the back of the net.
The goal provided the team much needed morale boost before the first half ended. The first half was exciting and kept me at the edge of my seat and it was no mystery that the second half was going to be the same.
The second half started off with a much stronger United, with many chances being created. With Rashford being brought on, the talented youth brought the much needed pace into the team. He shot at the goal which deflected off Ibrahimovic and went into the back off the net. But it was ruled offside as Ibrahimovic was offside. This was the closest United could get to equalizing in the second half. Things heated up in the final few minutes of the match with United going all in but they couldn’t get the equalizing goal and the match ended at MUN:1-2:MCI.
Manchester City played beautifully even in the absence of some key players. Though it could be argued that it was the poor quality of the other side that allowed them to triumph. Paul Pogba couldn’t get on the ball much often, there were no searching runs from him. Mkhitarayan seemed visibly out of form and he was substituted out, a good decision by Mourinho. United was not playing like they usually do, something was missing in their style of play, maybe the passion or the motivation to play better.
All in all, it was a wonderful and exciting Derby match. Jose Mourinho was clearly disappointed but he should know that this is just the first of many matches to come and he’ll have plenty of chances to get back at Pep Guardiola. Manchester is Blue.