Man Utd hugely enhance top four chances as Rashford downs rivals Man City
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | March 20, 2016
Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United
- Rashford nutmegged Demichelis on way to breaking deadlock
- Man Utd appeals for penalty turned down after Demichelis downed Rashord
- Aguero hit post with header in second-half
- England pair Sterling and Hart went off injured ahead of internationals
- Man Utd now just one point behind fourth-placed City
United win battle of Manchester thanks to Rashford winner
A Manchester derby between City and United is always a momentous affair, and the importance of this particular clash was all the more heightened given the duo’s quest to finish in the Premier League top four at the end of the season.
In an entertaining and sometimes feisty derby at the Etihad, it was the Red Devils who gained all three points, and moved to just one point behind the fourth-placed Citizens thanks to Marcus Rashford’s first-half winner. They can largely thank Martin Demichelis for a calamitous display, though.
The race for top 4 is getting tight…
— Coral (@Coral) March 20, 2016
Manuel Pellegrini’s men started strongly, with Jesus Navas having the first chance of the game in the seventh minute, but his volley from off his chest just went wide of fellow Spaniard David de Gea’s goal.
Navas, who has had a reasonably quiet and ineffective season, had an even better effort not long after and this time De Gea had to produce a fine save with his feet to deny him.
Rashford to the rescue once again
Against the run of play, United took the lead in the 16th minute through their newest wonderkid Rashford.
Increasing his tally to five in just his eighth match, the teenager cooly nutmegged veteran Demichelis before slotting past Joe Hart to open the scoring.
The 35-year-old Argentine centre back soon after allowed another youngster Anthony Martial to turn him and get a great shot on goal, but this time the England number one was equal to it.
To make matters worse for the hosts, Raheem Sterling had to come off injured after 25 minutes to be replaced by Fernando, which took away much-needed flair in attack.
The match soon settled, but Yaya Toure threatened to test De Gea just after the half-hour mark to send a wicked shot just wide.
Demichelis horror show continued
It became more feisty towards the end of the first-half, especially after Demichelis seemingly downed Rashford in the box, but Man Utd held on to ensure a 1-0 lead at the break.
Demichelis’ horror show continued, as this time a terrible back pass not only almost allowed Martial to latch onto it and score but also injured Hart as he attempted to clear, meaning Capital One Cup final penalty hero Willy Caballero came on for City.
Caballero’s compatriot Marcos Rojo decided to test him early, by shooting from an angle right at him, but the Argentine was able to snatch it up.
Martial and Rashord had decent efforts not long after, in the 55th minute, but both were denied by City players.
Late City pressure comes to no avail
Louis van Gaal’s men very much had the upper hand for the first part of the second-half, but it was Sergio Aguero who came closest to getting the next goal of the game as he headed onto the post, much to the relief of his former Atletico Madrid teammate De Gea.
City continued to pile on the pressure thereafter, and were perhaps unlucky not to find the net after a few scrambles in the area and poor-aimed shots from outside the box. But, in the end, the visitors were able to hold on in what was a tense finish, especially with six minutes injury time.
United remain in sixth place in the table, but equal on points with West Ham United and one behind Man City with eight games to go.