Foden double fires Man City comeback win against poor Man United side

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - March 3, 2024 Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates scoring their second goal with Erling Braut Haaland REUTERS/Carl Recine
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MANCHESTER,- Phil Foden kept Manchester City’s Premier League title challenge bang on track with a superb second-half double as his side hit back to clinch a 3-1 home win over Manchester United on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford’s eighth-minute thunderbolt gave United the lead against the run of play and it looked like the visitors might put a dent in City’s hopes of a fourth successive crown.

But Pep Guardiola’s side remained patient, dominated possession and were eventually rewarded with Foden again proving how indispensable he now is for City.

Foden arrowed a sublime effort into the top corner in the 56th minute and the England forward then produced a clinical finish with 10 minutes of normal time remaining.

Erling Haaland, who missed a golden first-half chance, secured the points with a late strike.

Reigning champions City, whose unbeaten run in all competitions now stands at 19, moved to 62 points, one behind leaders Liverpool who they visit next weekend.

United, who suffered their 11th league defeat of the season, remain in sixth place with 44 points.

Rashford’s bolt from the blue might have floored lesser sides but Erik ten Hag’s United could have few complaints at the way City turned things around — coming from behind to win a Premier League derby for the first time.

City had 74% possession and 27 efforts on goal compared to United’s three but for all the global talent on display, it was local boy Foden who found the key to the lock.

The 23-year-old was given a standing ovation as he walked off after taking a knock in stoppage time — City’s fans buoyant at keeping the pressure right on Liverpool and Arsenal.

“That’s my aim, to turn up in the big games,” Foden, who has now matched his record of 11 league goals in a campaign, said. “This season I’m proving that.”

City camped in United’s half in the opening minutes but were stunned when from the visitors’ first foray forward Bruno Fernandes rolled a pass back into the path of Rashford who instantly launched a 25-metre effort that crashed off the underside of the bar and into the net.

Rashford had other chances too, miss-controlling after being sent clear soon after and later failing to connect with a volley at the far post when well-positioned.

City probed United’s defence continually and eventually opened it up only for Haaland to somehow sidefoot over the bar from Foden’s headed cross with halftime approaching.

It was an incredible miss from such a lethal striker but there was no sense of panic and the pattern continued after the break with City penning United into their own half.

It looked like it might need some magic to crack United’s resistance and Foden provided it.

Receiving the ball on the right, just outside the area, Foden skipped inside and struck a fierce left-foot shot that was equally as spectacular as Rashford’s effort.

It relieved the tension and City kept pressing and Foden put them ahead in the 80th minute with a low left-foot shot across Andre Onana after being played in by Julian Alvarez.

Haaland would not be denied his goal and got in on the act in stoppage time with a trademark left-foot finish to emphasise the gulf in class between the two sides.

On the title race, Guardiola said: “We can’t control what Liverpool or Arsenal, Aston Villa or other contenders do, it is about us. We do what we have to do to win today, next Wednesday and Sunday. This team is legendary.”