Football: Paul Pogba Turned up to inspire a United comeback to put City's party on hold

09 April 2018
by:   Tim Fadipe

An inspired second half performance from Paul Pogba brought Manchester United back from 2-0 half time deficit to a 3-2 win over their Manchester rivals. City had the opportunity to secure the league title on their home ground against their rivals but United and Mourinho were having none of it.

The first 15 minutes was a cagey affair as both teams were yet to open the other up. It took a while for City to get going but once they did they were at their scintillating best again. Raheem Sterling has 21 goals across all competitions but was guilty of missing some guilt edged chances to give City the lead. But they didn’t have to wait much longer to get it.

A corner swung in by Leroy Sane in the 25th minute was met by a thumping header from captain Vincent Kompany to give City the lead. It was extremely reminiscent of the goal scored in 2012 where identically he rose over Chris Smalling again to power the ball past a helpless David de Gea.

The Etihad was bouncing and City were doubling their lead five minutes later. Some sweet passing found Sterling on the left hand side of the box and he fed Ilkay Gundogan who spun brilliantly in the box and fired the low shot past de Gea. City should have extended their lead further before the half time break but some poor finishing left the lead at only two goals.

After the break, United were a completely different team and it looked like City had completely lost their way. United pulled a goal back on the 53rd minute with some gorgeous play from Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean spun his man down the right hand side and clipped a ball in to Ander Herrera, the Spaniard chest the ball down for Pogba and he finished over the diving Ederson. The leveller came only two minutes later as again some good work from Sanchez on the left hand side freed up some space, Pogba made a brilliant run from deep and Sanchez picked him out with a peach of a pass and he nodded the ball into the back of the net.

The Etihad was completely stunned as their first half dominance had been eviscerated in the space of 10 second half minutes. Suddenly, the crisp passing from City had disappeared and United were the ones to every 50/50 ball. The game petered out over the next 15 minutes before United grabbed the lead. A swinging free kick from the instrumental Alexis Sanchez found the right boot of Chris Smalling who had stole a march on Otamendi and the Englishman applied the controlled finish.

City ramped up the pressure after relinquishing the lead and should have been awarded a penalty on the 78th minute as a lunging challenge from Ashley Young caught substitute Aguero high up the leg but the City appeals were waved away by Martin Atkinson.

City thought they were level on the 89th minute when Aguero’s header looked goalbound, but a miraculous save from De Gea denied the Argentinean. From the resulting corner, the Cityzens had three opportunities to find the equaliser, but having a Sterling attempt come off the post and two other attempts blocked, their title celebration was put on hold.

United held on for the crucial win and strengthened their grip on second position. A thrilling Manchester derby, one for the history books.

Jose Mourinho spoke candidly about his talismanic Frenchman after the game saying to Sky Sports “I was not asking for Paul to improve as I was already happy with what he was doing. If it’s true his agent has offered him to some clubs, then his price has gone up.”

Mourinho was also quick to challenge narratives thrown at him team saying “We are not the team people think we are. The players are not as bad as people think they are. I am not as bad a manger as people think I am and we want to show that.” Pep Guardiola on the other hand was in high spirits after the game saying “Our team is built to attack, that’s why we made the decisions we did to go forward. We had a lot of quality and goals in the first half but you have to defend a little better from set pieces. But that’s football.”

Weekend Scores

- Everton 0-0 Liverpool

- Bournemouth 2-2 Crystal Palace

- Brighton 1-1 Huddersfield

- Leicester 1-2 Newcastle

- Stoke 1-2 Tottenham

- Watford 1-2 Burnley

- West Brom 1-1 Swansea

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