Manchester United suffered a second-half blitz from City that left the Reds with no answer in the derby at Old Trafford.
Goals from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane after the interval wrecked a decent first half by the hosts. But the home defeat was damaging for United’s hopes of creeping into the two last vacant Champions League berths in the Premier League.
The only positive on that front, with three games to go, was that top-four rivals Arsenal were soundly beaten 3-1 at Wolves, leaving the door still ajar for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
United had been stewing on the Everton defeat on Sunday and Solskjaer wanted a response. The manager appeared to get it early on as the Reds troubled City’s normal fluid dominance of matches.
There was a bite and confidence missing at Goodison as we flew into the opening exchanges with the Reds’ intensity forcing the Blues into errors and the momentum also had City making unforced mistakes as well.
Vincent Kompany and Kyle Walker both looked unhinged and the City captain was given a 10th minute yellow card by referee Andre Marriner for a cynical body-check on Marcus Rashford as the striker threatened to speed past the Belgian defender.
Paul Pogba had the first telling effort on goal of a frantic opening as he sent a dipping shot just in front of City keeper Ederson. The Brazilian gathered up the drive.
United, however, were almost caught out in the 15th minute by Raheem Sterling. His shot was dreadfully weak but was diverted by Chris Smalling and the deflection almost wrong-footed David De Gea.
The Reds were piling up the goal attempts with in an exciting flurry that saw Fred smash one over and Jesse Lingard volley wide a brilliant Pogba long ball as the Old Trafford crowd were well behind the side.
City halted the flow on their own goal when Bernardo Silva blasted in a shot in the 19th minute that De Gea beat away.
United immediately raced away on the counter attack and Rashford almost beat Ederson in a race, but it was the City keeper who came out the winner. Mancunian Rashford was clearly up for the local showdown and hit a long-range bullet that rose just over the bar to keep up the Reds’ momentum.
City began to douse United’s fire as they got into their possession game and, as they continued with their control, they carved out their best chance of the match.
Quick passing in the home penalty area presented Sterling a chance to dance his way into some space and his low shot from close range was saved by De Gea as the Blues threatened to make a breakthrough under the noses of the Stretford End.
After the break, City lost their central midfielder Fernandinho to injury and he was replaced by Sane but it didn’t derail the visitors and they made their post-interval dominance count after 54 minutes.
An Ilkay Gundogan pass got Bernardo Silva on the ball on the right flank and he took on Luke Shaw, cut inside and fired low into the net at the near post. It was all too easy an opener and a setback for the Reds.
United almost conjured up an instant replay but Lingard couldn’t quite connect with Rashford’s lofted cross close in, after it was missed by Kompany.
Pogba had a free-kick chance square on goal from 20 yards out but could only batter his set-piece into City’s defensive wall.
City, though, were dangerously rising through the gears and United could ill afford errors but Fred gave away the ball to Kompany, the defender quickly set Sterling free and he raced at pace into the Reds’ half and freed substitute Sane to crack in a shot that beat De Gea for City’s second after 66 minutes.
United’s first-half zip, energy and confidence had gone completely flat as City took complete control of the derby. Solskjaer brought Romelu Lukaku on for Andreas after 72 minutes but the Belgian miscued a decent chance soon after.
The manager made a double substitution in the 83rd minute as he looked to launch a late dramatic finale by bringing on Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez for Lingard and Darmian.
Despite having four attackers on the pitch, the Reds were unable to find a way back into the match and slipped to another disappointing defeat.