Phil Foden delivers Manchester derby heroics as Man City fight back for major title-race boost

Phil Foden delivers Manchester derby heroics as Man City fight back for major title-race boost

Manchester City bounced back from a goal down to deliver another title-race statement with a 3-1 derby victory over Manchester United.

Marcus Rashford’s early screamer sent a shockwave through the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon but Phil Foden wrestled City back level before the hour mark, and then scored the winner before Erling Haaland sealed the points.

Erik ten Hag had sent out his team to grind out a result, with a compact four-man midfield behind the speedsters Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho. And for the bulk of the Manchester derby, it worked.

United led when Andre Onana’s long kick upfield caught City flat-footed and Rashford took aim to drill a sensational effort in off the underside of Ederson’s crossbar.

In response, City were flat and tried to pummel their way through with several corners and crosses into the box, most of which failed to yield any chances during the first half - bar a Foden one-on-one and a bouncing Rodri volley both turned away by Onana.

The hosts should certainly have levelled moments before stoppage time however, when Haaland somehow shot over when unmarked and only five yards out from an open goal.

There was simply very little Pep Guardiola magic sprinkled throughout City’s display up to this point, yet United had practically nothing going forward themselves and 1-0 felt an unlikely full-time scoreline.

So it proved, when Foden skipped inside from the right flank to glide a delightful shot into the far corner on 56 minutes.

City continued to dominate and punished the tired legs of Casemiro when Foden and Julian Alvarez’s one-two sent the England midfielder into space down the left channel, and his low shot beat a weak palm from the previously-solid Onana with ten minutes left.

Ten Hag refused to throw his chips on the table and shift United away from their backfoot-first approach and, unsurprisingly, Guardiola’s men were also happy to keep the game heading in the same direction despite the scoreline having shifted in their favour.

Sofyan Amrabat was caught in possession in stoppage time and Haaland found himself through on goal to roll home the third goal, sealing a derby win for City that was ultimately deserved against a United side which managed just three shots all game - and only hit the target through Rashford’s screamer.

City’s fourth win in five derbies against Ten Hag returns them to within a point of leaders Liverpool before they meet next weekend, after the defending champions welcome Copenhagen for a midweek Champions League tie. United ended the afternoon 11 points off fourth place, a gap surely insurmountable for this team.