Saturday April 7, 2018
Goalscorers Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba were crucial to Manchester United’s second-half comeback
Manchester United staged an incredible second-half comeback to beat Manchester City and delay their rivals’ Premier League title celebrations at Etihad Stadium.
Paul Pogba scored two goals in two minutes to overturn City’s first-half lead before Chris Smalling’s header completed the dramatic turnaround.
Vincent Kompany had scored a thumping header before Ilkay Gundogan’s sublime skill and precise finish doubled City’s lead.
But City, who would have been crowned champions with victory, will have to wait as second-placed United narrowed the gap to 13 points ensuring there were no celebrations on derby day.
newsupdateAnd the hosts should have been away after a blistering opening period saw them tear United apart and hold a comfortable lead going into the second half.
They could have had a penalty within five minutes when Ashley Young slipped and appeared to touch the ball away from Raheem Sterling after David Silva had crossed in from the left.
Bernardo Silva was inches away from poking home shortly afterwards but he failed to get enough on the ball to beat the outstretched leg of David de Gea.
Kompany then made no mistake when he leapt highest and beat Smalling to head home from a corner and give City a deserved lead, before Gundogan turned away from Smalling in the box to make it 2-0.
Sterling should have scored twice but he fired both efforts over the bar and Gundogan also had a free header from eight yards out which he squandered – all missed opportunities in the first half.
City then started the second half in similar fashion as Gundogan clipped the post with a curling effort but Pogba’s quick double interrupted their rhythm and reversed the momentum.
Smalling, who had been at fault for both goals in the first half, then directed his header past Ederson to round off a tremendous comeback in the 69th minute.
That was not the end of the drama though as substitute Sergio Aguero had a strong claim for a penalty turned down after a challenge by Young moments before players from both sides clashed on the pitch as tensions boiled over.
De Gea then pulled off a sensational save in the 89th minute to deny Aguero a late equaliser before Sterling saw the ball ricochet off his hip and almost squeeze in before the keeper palmed it away.