Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United: Local lads steal the show as Cityzens leave it late to clinch crucial derby win

Seeking a victory over Manchester United to remain within touching distance of Liverpool at the helm of the Premier League table, Manchester City welcomed their cross-city rivals to Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon – having emerged on the winning side when they clashed at Old Trafford earlier this season.

MCI: Ederson; Aké, Dias, Walker; Stones, Rodri; Doku, de Bruyne, Silva, Foden; Haaland

MUN: Onana; Lindelof, Evans, Varane, Dalot; Mainoo, Casemiro; McTominay, Garnacho; Rashford, Fernandes

Many had forecasted Manchester City to cruise to victory with relative ease at Etihad Stadium, with the Red Devils having endured a bout of indifferent form recently – including a 97th minute loss to Fulham last weekend.

But the script was flipped after just eight minutes in East Manchester, with Marcus Rashford netting a sensational goal to hand Erik ten Hag’s side the upper hand in their race to qualify for the UEFA Europa League next term.

Bruno Fernandes was the orchestrator of the move, fending off fierce competition from Ruben Dias until the time was right to play the ball into Rashford’s stride – allowing the Englishman to find the back of the net via a crucial deflection from the underside of the crossbar.

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Life in the Premier League is never simple though, and Rashford would be left rueing a squandered opportunity to double the lead as Manchester City’s Phil Foden restored parity shortly after the half-time interval.

Darting past a static Victor Lindelof on the edge of the penalty area, the Stockport-born England international curled a stunning strike past Andre Onana – sparking euphoric celebrations amongst the majority of the crowd at Etihad Stadium.

With ten minutes of regulation time remaining, Foden would snatch the lead for the Cityzens after latching onto a sublime pass from Julian Álvarez before powering a low strike past Onana – who really should have done better to deny his brace.

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While Foden’s second strike had seemingly confirmed victory against a tiring Manchester United side that lacked the necessary weapons in their arsenal, Erling Haaland added a third in stoppage time to shatter any remaining hopes of a comeback.

The Norwegian should really have netted in the first half, and will be keen to avoid seeing the replays of his woeful off-target strike as he blazed over the post when presented with an open goal following a Foden cutback.

Manchester City left it late to get the job done in this enthralling Manchester Derby clash, but will find themselves high on confidence as they host FC Copenhagen in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-sixteen tie on Wednesday. The Cityzens are 3-1 up following the first leg at Parken Stadium.

Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United will be disappointed to have let their lead slip, but the Red Devils now have a clear week ahead of them before welcoming Everton to Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.