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Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United: Blues earn deserved derby win

United could have no complaints as they succumbed to a derby defeat on Sunday.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Manchester bragging rights are City’s after Pep Guardiola’s side saw off Manchester United 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. A second half spot-kick from Anthony Martial gave the visitors a glimmer of hope, but in the end City’s superiority shined through.

City made an ominously good start to the match, carving through United’s defence at will. With a touch more precision in the final third, the Blues would have broken the deadlock even earlier than they did. As it was, they had to wait 12 minutes before David Silva tucked Bernardo Silva’s low cross home, leaving travelling supporters fearing the worst.

However, United didn’t crumble in the face of City pressure, and as the first half wore on, the hosts’ initial incision gave way to tepid midfield tip-tappery. But if City didn’t look particularly sharp, nor were they as blunt as their visitors, who failed to make the most of the little space they were afforded on the counter-attack. By halftime, they’d failed to draw a single stop from goalkeeper Ederson.

United’s slim hopes of sneaking something from the game were dealt a severe blow within three minutes of the second half, when a smart one-two between Sergio Agüero and Riyad Mahrez culminated in the Argentine lashing the ball into the roof of the net. David de Gea might have done better from the tight angle.

The visitors needed a quick reply, though nothing was forthcoming until Romelu Lukaku was brought off the bench to replace Jesse Lingard. With his very first touch of the game, the Belgian striker nipped the ball around Ederson and invited a rash intervention from the Brazilian keeper. The referee pointed to the penalty spot, and Anthony Martial duly converted. Game on.

United’s hopes had been rekindled, but so City’s attentiveness was restored. With the memories of the Reds’ comeback win back in April still lingering, they were extra keen to avoid complacency, and the introduction of İlkay Gündoğan in place of Agüero hinted at uncharacteristic caution from Guardiola.

But when City killed the game off five minutes from time, it was Gündoğan who did the business. The German midfielder escaped the attention of Nemanja Matić en route to receiving a beautiful deep cross from Bernardo Silva, and he made no mistake from close range. It wasn’t a particularly brilliant performance from City, but in the end their superiority showed through. United could have no complaints.