Man Utd’s Ambitious ‘Red Bus’ Strategy Crumbles as Rashford’s Brilliance is Eclipsed by Man City’s Formidable Attacking Display, Boasting an Impressive 27 Shots on Goal.-HoangGA

HOWEVER cosmopolitan the Manchester derby becomes, local lad Phil Foden is making this fixture his own.

Foden, who netted a hat-trick against Manchester United here last season, netted a second-half double to propel Pep Guardiola’s side to a comeback victory.

Phil Foden scored twice as Man City sealed a 3-1 comeback win over United in the derby

Phil Foden scored twice as Man City sealed a 3-1 comeback win over United in the derby

The Red Devils parked the bus as they narrowly missed out on a point

The Red Devils parked the bus as they narrowly missed out on a point

The England man’s goals – cancelling out an early rocket from fellow Mancunian Marcus Rashford – keeps champions City just a point behind leaders Liverpool ahead of next Sunday’s summit meeting at Anfield.

Erling Haaland, who had missed an extraordinary first-half sitter, then sealed the deal in injury time.

It was the first time United had lost a Premier League match after leading at half-time for almost ten years – as Erik ten Hag’s side suffered back-to-back league defeats to further dent their vague hopes of Champions League qualification.

But City had been seriously rattled during the first half, after Rashford had hammered United into an eighth-minute lead and Ten Hag’s attempt at rope-a-dope tactics threatened to bear fruit.

Marcus Rashford gave United the lead after just eight minutes

Marcus Rashford gave United the lead after just eight minutes

He lashed home a thunderbolt from distance

He lashed home a thunderbolt from distance

Before kick-off it barely felt like a derby. City had won five of the previous six of these contests and the Etihad, pre-match, is like some weird football theme park, with hundreds of corporate punters clogging the playing surface for photos.

But the feeling of ho-hum inevitability was obliterated within nine minutes by Rashford.

Onana punted long, Bruno Fernandes held off Ruben Dias and laid it back for the England forward, who walloped home a first-time shot from 25 yards – clipping the underside of the crossbar for added eye-candy.

It was right in front of the United fans but it took a second or so for them to believe their eyes before they descended into an orgy of limbs

Ten Hag had set up United without an authentic centre-forward, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay as a pair of false nines, although it was more fluid than that.

The visitors sat back, packed their defence and challenged City to break them down.

For 45 minutes, Guardiola’s side seemed to forget who they were.

They were in too much of a hurry, there was panic where there ought to have been patience as the champions snatched at shots and winger Jeremy Doku looked even less of a Manchester City player than he normally does,

Kobbie Mainoo won a thudding tackle to dispossess Kevin De Bruyne, Onana twice denied Foden – with his legs at his near post, then advancing off his line to smother.

Rashford had two more sighters, but stumbled both times.

But most of the time, as City peppered them with leather, United stood in two banks of four, wearing bruises with masochistic joy.

After enjoying his best 45 minutes in a United shirt, Haaland headed miles over from close range, and Rodri had a vicious volley pushed wide by Onana.

Just before halftime, Rodri centred to the far post, Foden cushioned a header back across goal, and Haaland volleyed over from two yards out—an event every bit as unlikely as Rashford’s opening goal.

The Norwegian is hardly out of touch. He had netted five goals in Tuesday’s Cup tie at Luton. He ought to have headed it.

But this was a derby – where form and class and logic are so often irrelevant.

Rodri hammered the turf in frustration, Guardiola rubbed his head manically and Haaland merely stared into space.

Whatever his demeanour on the touchline, Guardiola must have told his players to give their heads a wobble and calm down, because they were soon looking more like their old selves.

The equaliser arrived on 56 minutes but not without controversy.

City got back into the game in the 56th minute

City got back into the game in the 56th minute

Foden curled in a beauty from outside the box

Foden curled in a beauty from outside the box

United had launched a counter-attack, McTominay sending Rashord through only for the forward to fall under minimal contact from Kyle Walker.

Ref Andy Madley was having none of it and a minute later, City were level when Rodri squared a pass to Foden who nipped past Victor Lindelof and arrowed a powerful shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.

He fired a low shot past Andre Onana

Foden doubled his tally ten minutes from time

Foden doubled his tally ten minutes from time

When Ten Hag erupted at fourth official Darren England, it looked as though he was throwing his chewing gum into the ground. Madley then gave the United manager a yellow card.

It was the second goal of the afternoon to be scored by a real Manchester United supporter, and Foden’s 17th goal of the season—his best scoring campaign.

Rashford was benched in favor of the unfortunate Antony, who had not performed well since his goal.

Soon after, the winger was sent clear, but Ederson, racing out of goal to win a brilliant tackle on the edge of his area, denied him.

However, Foden had been in control of the game, and with ten minutes remaining, he scored the winner by moving forward, passing to Julian Alvarez, who had replaced the disappointing Doku, and slanting a shot past Onana and into the far corner.

Sub Sofyan Amrabat was then taken advantage of by Rodri, who also fed Haaland, who scored a shot that went past Onana to make up for his earlier gaffe and give the blue half of Manchester a familiar crowing voice.

Erling Haaland made sure of the result in the 91st minute

Erling Haaland made sure of the result in the 91st minute

The goal made amends for a criminal miss earlier on

The goal made amends for a criminal miss earlier on

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