When you are the 20-time champions of England, it is hard to call any victory against Manchester City a “famous” day. However, the second half comeback in the Manchester Derby, denying City a chance to celebrate its inevitable fifth league title is a fine footnote in what has been a frustrating season for Man United supporters.
After conceding 2 first-half tallies to the Citizens, United bounced back like champions with 3 second-half goals to deny City the win.
City opened the scoring from a corner kick in the 25th minute. Vincent Kompany lost his marker and played a free-header into the net off a corner kick and the Belgian leapt in the air in celebration, thinking perhaps he had clinched the league title against his fiercest rival with the opening goal.
This thought was further cemented when just five minutes later, after an uncharacteristic bad bit of distribution from David De Gea, Raheem Sterling laid a ball off to Ilkay Gündogan who after a brilliant turn, slotted home and Man City seemed on its way to celebrating the title at The Etihad, and United seemed on its way to an embarrassing and famous defeat.
Alexis Sanchez broke down the defense from the wing, laid one off to Ander Herrera who played a lovely touch with chest control to Paul Pogba who slotted home to get United back in the affair.
Pogba, who had been the subject of baseless rumors earlier in the week, was not done.
The Frenchman, just 2 minutes later, lost his marker and headed home a cross to level things in the derby. Undaunted, Pogba kicked the ball into the crowd after retrieving it from the goal, seemingly letting off any frustration from the buildup to the match.
A draw would have done it for the Red Devils, but the Reds weren’t about to settle for a tie.
From a free kick, Alexis played one to an unmarked Chris Smalling who toe-poked past Ederson and United improbably had the lead.
In the 77th minute, there were penalty shouts when Kun Aguero appeared to have been taken down by a bad challenge from Ashley Young. Young did get a piece of the ball which may have saved him in the eyes of the official, but there was indeed contact and United appeared to be lucky to escape without a PK and red card given.
There were nervy moments in the waning moments, de Gea came up with a huge save on Aguero, and Sterling and de Bruyne combined to hit the post, but United held on for the victory.
What followed was an emphatic celebration by the Red Devils as they appeared to relish in spoiling the City party. They remain on life support in the title race, and it will likely be two weeks until City can clinch its 5th league championship.
Next, United returns home to face West Brom on April 15th.