Wednesday , September 26 2018

First blood to Guardiola as City win Manchester derby – Champions Leicester outclassed by vibrant Liverpool

Manchester City’s Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi (center), attempts to shoot as Manchester United’s Ivorian defender Eric Bailly (left), defends and Manchester United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea (right), dives during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on Sept 10. (AFP)
Manchester City’s Argentinian defender Nicolas Otamendi (center), attempts to shoot as Manchester United’s Ivorian defender Eric Bailly (left), defends and Manchester United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea (right), dives during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on Sept 10. (AFP)

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Sept 10, (Agencies): Pep Guardiola enjoyed victory over his old nemesis Jose Mourinho as his Manchester City side won 2-1 at Manchester United in Saturday’s eagerly anticipated derby at Old Trafford. First-half goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho put City in control and despite new goalkeeper Claudio Bravo’s gaffe allowing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to hit back for United, City held firm.

It was the first encounter between Guardiola and Mourinho, former El Clasico sparring partners, since 2013 and gave the former Barcelona coach an eighth win in 17 encounters with the ex-Real Madrid manager.

“We are happy. I think the spectators enjoyed it because it was open until the end,” Guardiola told the BBC. “First half we were better. In the second half it was difficult. We had counter-attacks and we didn’t finish.” City’s win, their 50th in competitive derby matches, saw them end United’s perfect start to the season.

It left Guardiola’s side and Chelsea, who visit Swansea City on Sunday, as the only teams in the Premier League with 100 percent records. Mourinho was angered by referee Mark Clattenburg’s decision not to award the home side a penalty after Bravo committed a wild challenge on Wayne Rooney inside the City area. Mourinho’s decision to start Mkhitaryan and Lingard in place of Anthony Martial and Juan Mata was a surprise and it backfired as City took a deserved 15th-minute lead.

Aleksandar Kolarov’s high ball was flicked on by Iheanacho — in for the suspended Sergio Aguero — and De Bruyne beat Daley Blind to the ball before clinically wrong-footing David de Gea. United had barely had a kick and Rooney’s frustration showed as he grappled with Guardiola for the ball at a throw-in before catching Fernandinho late.

There was worse to come for the United skipper as City made it 2-0, Iheanacho tapping in from six yards after De Bruyne’s low curler struck the base of the left-hand post. Mourinho wore a face of thunder on the touchline, but Bravo gifted his side a lifeline three minutes before half-time. The Chilean allowed Rooney’s deep free-kick to slip from his grasp and Ibrahimovic produced an athletic volley to spear the loose ball into the net.

It was an unexpected foothold for the hosts and they finished the first half strongly. Rooney crossed for Ibrahimovic to head at Bravo and the Swedish striker then saw an effort blocked by John Stones after the City goalkeeper failed to field a stray ball. Mourinho repaired his error at half-time, introducing Ander Herrera and terrace darling Marcus Rashford for Mkhitaryan and Lingard. Bravo’s jitteriness gave the home fans renewed belief and he was extremely fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty in the 56th minute.

Liverpool 4, Leicester City 1

In Liverpool, Roberto Firmino scored twice and Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana also found the net in an eye-catching attacking display from Liverpool as they beat Leicester City 4-1 at home. Firmino opened the scoring in the 13th minute after being found by a superb pass by James Milner, taking a touch to evade the defenders before finishing calmly across Kasper Schmeichel’s goal. Mane added a second in the 31st minute, chipping home to cap off a delicious team move after being picked out by Daniel Sturridge.

A defensive mix-up gave the champions a lifeline seven minutes later when Jamie Vardy capitalised on Lucas Leiva’s mindless ball across goal to tap in from close range, but while Leicester pressed manfully, they struggled to construct a coherent attacking threat.

The hosts restored their two-goal advantage in the 56th minute when Lallana met Giorgino Wijnaldum’s lay-off and rifled a fine shot into the top corner, before Firmino added a late fourth from a searing counter attack after Schmeichel underestimated Mane’s speed and was caught in no man’s land.

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