Manchester City opened with great pressing and dominated territory, but in the sixth minute. Wayne Rooney did a great job to square across to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who fashioned a long-range chance from Paul Pogba. It was surprisingly close considering the fact it seemed to be looping over at first. Eric Bailly conceded a subsequent free kick just outside the box, but Aleksandar Kolarov’s effort was well wide.
Unfortunately, City broke through in the 15th minute, as Kevin De Bruyne caught onto a defensive lapse from United’s defensive duo, and he slotted into the goal with incredible ease. It was a poor goal to concede considering how well Bailly and Blind were defending for the first phase of the game. Pep Guardiola wasted time by denying Rooney the ball when United was 1-0 down in the 22nd minute. Rooney answered superbly, shoving the Spaniard, stealing the ball and half-heartedly shaking his hand afterward.
In the 30th minute, Marouane Fellaini cleared the ball in a physical play with Nolito, starting a dispute with the Spaniard. Fellaini’s clearance went to Bacary Sagna, though, who lashed a volley just over the bar. However, City got their second goal in the 36th minute, as a De Bruyne effort that hit the post and played Kelechi Iheanacho onside for an open goal that he buried. Ibrahimovic capitalized on a massive error from Claudio Bravo, City’s new goalkeeper, to score a goal in the 43rd minute. His volley was superb, though, and for those praising Iheanacho’s contributions would’ve been disappointed by the fact it cancelled out. Rooney’s cross was a massive one, though. This came from a set-piece after which Valencia was completely clattered by David Silva.
Rooney won the ball in good territory and fashioned a good ball for Ibrahimovic, who beat John Stones in the air and headed powerfully, though Bravo was there to make the save. Seconds later, Lingard won the ball off Bravo and gave the ball to Ibrahimovic in front of an open goal. Zlatan didn’t realize that a defender was there and wasted a massive chance. That ended the half in a strange manner, an exciting half with a lot of goals.
Mkhitaryan and Lingard, poor in the first half, were substituted for Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera, who immediately made an impact as Rashford almost set up Ibrahimovic for a goal. Pogba moved into further attacking areas. Speaking of Ibrahimovic, he was booked in the 51st minute for a clip on Otamendi. Fellaini was booked soon after, but surprisingly he didn’t actually commit the foul- Kolarov took advantage of his reputation.
Raheem Sterling was replaced by debutant Leroy Sane in the 60th minute, just before Rooney had a very similar free kick to the one from which Ibrahimovic scored. The Englishman had a chance in the 63rd minute but surprisingly opted to shoot, dragging it wide of the goal.
Rashford had an effort in the 70th minute from an excellent ball from Daley Blind. The Englishman’s shot deflected off Ibrahimovic and into the goal. Unfortunately for United fans and fantasy football players, it was ruled offside by Mark Clattenburg. In the 71st, David de Gea made an outstanding save from a Fernandinho volley from the corner. There was a series of dangerous corners from City before de Gea made another outstanding save and was able to clear straight to Herrera, who won another corner.
Rooney’s corners didn’t make too much of an impact before an uncalled foul on Pogba allowed City to counter. De Bruyne’s following shot hit the post and rolled across the line and out of the goal. Silva had another chance shortly after, in the 76th, but it curled just over the bar.
City won a free kick in the 78th minute, for another De Bruyne set-piece. However, he skied it to the surprise of de Gea. Wayne Rooney caught Bravo for almost no reason and picked up a yellow card later in the game. The highlights continued with rampant fashion as Anthony Martial entered the pitch, moving to the 91st minute when Ibrahimovic’s volley was deflected wide for a corner. Pogba was unable to distract Bravo towards the end of the match.
In the 95th minute, Fernandinho conceded a set-piece with a cynical foul on Herrera, and Rooney’s ball allowed Pogba to have a chance that was cleared off the line. That represented a tough finish for United, who merited the goal on the second half, but City took their chances well, and United didn’t.
Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 42′
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw (Martial 81′); Fellaini, Pogba; Mkhitaryan (Herrera 46′), Rooney, Lingard (Rashford 46′); Ibrahimovic
Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Smalling; Mata, Schneiderlin
Bookings: Eric Bailly 45+1′, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 51′, Marouane Fellaini 52′, Wayne Rooney 83′