EPL

Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United: Rashford and Martial land big win for Solskjaer

By Sports Desk December 07, 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tasted sweet victory in the derby as his Manchester United side stunned Manchester City with a 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

United were brilliant in the first half, as impressive as they have been in the 12 months of their Norwegian manager's tenure, and a penalty from Marcus Rashford followed by Anthony Martial's sharp finish made it their day. A late Nicolas Otamendi header could not save the hosts.

City now sit 14 points behind leaders Liverpool in the Premier League, hopes of defending their title surely all but extinguished by this result. Questions will be asked of Pep Guardiola's leadership, and how he has allowed their defence to become such a weakness.

But for Solskjaer, months of speculation about his job security can be swept aside for now. After beating Jose Mourinho's Tottenham on Wednesday and following up with a terrific performance against their 'noisy neighbours', United suddenly look a team to be reckoned with.

United's first three attempts all forced Ederson to make sharp saves, the goalkeeper denying Daniel James from the edge of the penalty area, then a lively Jesse Lingard and the marauding Martial.

And with City in disarray at the back, the fast-breaking visitors were handed a penalty after a VAR review when Rashford went down following a mazy run, sideswiped by a clumsy Bernardo Silva challenge.

Rashford slotted low and into the right corner for the 23rd-minute opener, and the England striker went close twice in the next four minutes: firstly, when stroking a shot just wide after City's defence was unpicked by a high-pace counter-attack, and then with a 20-yard curling shot that hit the crossbar.

Martial gave United the two-goal lead they richly deserved in the 29th minute when he swivelled and cracked a low, left-footed shot in off the base of the right post, after working the chance patiently with James.

City striker Gabriel Jesus might have narrowed the lead before half-time but headed wastefully wide from Kevin De Bruyne's cross, before the hosts were aggrieved to be denied a spot-kick by referee Anthony Taylor when Fred appeared to handle a cross.

Guardiola made his annoyance known in a passionate appeal to fourth official Mike Dean before the second half began.

United centre-back Victor Lindelof made a superb intervention to thwart De Bruyne soon after the restart, deflecting the Belgian's thumping shot over the crossbar.

Fred was struck by an object thrown from home supporters and appeared to suffer racist abuse from the same section.

Otamendi headed in an 85th-minute City consolation and fellow substitute Riyad Mahrez went close to a leveller moments later, denied by a fine save by David de Gea, but this was emphatically United's day.

 

What does it mean? A great day for the Red Devils, but a better one for the Reds

United have toiled and looked shambolic on occasion this season, the Premier League's once-dominant club becoming the subject of ridicule at times. But here they were terrific, a formidable attacking force in the opening half an hour and a disciplined unit thereafter. The one negative, from their fans' point of view, is that this result comes as a huge boost to arch-rivals Liverpool. Maybe Leicester City are the only team that can deny Jurgen Klopp's side now.

Angelino heaven-sent for United

Guardiola put huge faith in Angelino by starting the 22-year-old at left-back, ahead of the benched Benjamin Mendy. It turned into a gift of a selection for United, who found space in abundance behind the heavily tattooed Spaniard, James revelling in the space.

City's manager came into this season believing his defensive ranks were adequately stacked, but how wrong he was. Every team suffers injuries, and City's repeated buckling at the back this season points to neglect of that department.

What's next?

City wrap up their Champions League group campaign with a trip to face Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday, having already secured top spot. United, sure to advance to the knock-out rounds, face Dutch side AZ in their final Europa League group game on Thursday. Both Manchester giants then return to Premier League action next Sunday, with City travelling to Arsenal and United at home to Everton.

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    Football was suspended in March 2020 after the virus began to spread across the country.

    However, after months of meetings and deliberations, the decision to allow for the resumption of football was announced today by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie following a meeting between representatives of the Ministries of Health and Wellness, and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Premier League Clubs Association, the Jamaica Football Federation, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Social Development Commission.

    “We have been meeting for some time to ensure that all possible mechanisms concerning the efficient prevention and management of COVID-19 are applied to all aspects of Club competition, including the health and safety of players, referees and Club workers and administrators. Further details regarding the starting times and the conditions under which the competitions will be held, will be disclosed at a later date,” Minister McKenzie said.

    “Even as the management of COVID-19 remains paramount, the Government is keen for sport to resume in a phased, orderly manner, consistent with the continued reduction in the country’s positivity rate. The impact of sport on social well-being and social development is well recognized, and the Government will support all efforts to promote the enjoyment of sport in the safest way possible. In this regard, the Government is actively considering applications from a range of sporting associations.”

    JFF President Michael Ricketts welcomed the news.

    “This is very positive news for the stakeholders of football,” Ricketts said in a statement late Wednesday.

    “Of course, my first thoughts are with our players and coaches who will now have opportunities open to them to resume the trade that they so love. I also want to commend and thank the partners who have invested, for their patience and loyalty to the sport.

    “Finally, thanks to the ministries and state agencies for the work done to get us here. While I am sure the players are overjoyed with the news, I implore them to be constantly mindful of the current local health conditions and act responsibly. While we play, let’s play our part in containing this pandemic. Let the games begin.”

    The approval was given for the format that allows clubs to train at their home grounds with the official matches to be held at central venues. Most recently, the PFJL had developed a protocol for the official matches to be held in a controlled environment based on the significant upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Jamaica starting in February. However, with the success of the most recent measures that have cut back the number of new cases, all parties were satisfied that the previous model would align with the current measures.

    There is also greater confidence with the start of national vaccination efforts.

    The JFF will now work to finalize the design of the format for the official matches following the delay in receiving approval and the resulting shortened season. The JFF will also have to integrate the Jamaica Premier League matches with those on the national and regional calendars as both the Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifiers are being held in the coming months.

    Details of the start, duration and league format will be shared in the coming days.

    Like most sporting events globally, the Jamaica Premier League will be held without spectators in order to contribute to the nation’s efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, fans will be able to enjoy the matches as the PFJL has secured a broadcast partner for the Caribbean who will be responsible for identifying television broadcasters for Jamaica and the region.

    Acting General Manager of the PFJL, Arlene L. Martin was very pleased with the go-ahead.

     “The PFJL appreciates the government’s recognition of the importance of the resumption of professional football as well as the confidence in the approved protocol and the ability to comply with these measures. The PFJL has worked with our national and regional stakeholders to develop a thorough protocol that we are confident will support and even enhance the government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to an exciting season with the Clubs and our commercial partners and to delivering quality football to our fans.”

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    The Blues progressed to the final for the third time in their history as a 2-0 win over Real Madrid clinched a 3-1 aggregate victory and a place in the Istanbul showpiece against Premier League rivals Manchester City on May 29.

    In doing so, Tuchel became the first manager in the history of the Champions League and European Cup to reach the final in consecutive seasons with different teams. Tuchel led Paris Saint-Germain to the final last year, only to lose 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

    Chelsea will also contest the FA Cup final against Leicester City on May 15 and hold a three-point lead over fifth-placed West Ham in the race for the Premier League top four.

    Tuchel has lost only two of his 24 games (W16, D6) since taking charge in January and insists he immediately felt right at home at Stamford Bridge.

    "It was worth it every single day so far," Tuchel said of the sacrifice he made.

    "I was part of an amazing club from the first day, I felt huge support from day one. I'm very grateful to be at the sideline of this team."

    Chelsea took a 1-0 lead through Timo Werner's simple 28th-minute header after Kai Havertz had struck the crossbar, but spurned several chances to stretch their lead as Havertz twice went close and Mason Mount and N'Golo Kante wasted opportunities.

    But Mount made the tie safe five minutes from time, becoming the second youngest Englishman to score in the semi-finals of the Champions League – aged 22 years and 15 days – after Wayne Rooney (21 years 182 days).

    "The heads were never down, the heads were always up even after these big chances," added Tuchel.

    "We always stayed positive and we never regret something so it was fantastic. The job is not done yet, we are in two finals now, the sacrifice I personally gave was worth it since day one."

    Chelsea beat Pep Guardiola's City in the FA Cup semi-finals and will face them again in the league on Saturday.

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    "We played that semi-final on the edge and we used it. I said before and I will say it always for me Bayern Munich throughout the last season with Manchester City, they are the benchmark.

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    The competition venue listed was the Mona High school, which is the training base of Phoenix Academy.  The JFF, who is the only body capable of sanctioning official club competitions across the island, has made it clear it has given no permission for the event to be staged and demanded its immediate termination.

    The JFF themselves have not received permission to resume competition on the island by the Jamaican government, based on the existing COVID-19 protocols.

    “No permission has been granted for any tournament to go ahead, and all players, coaches and other individuals associated with any tournament do so illegally under the country’s disaster preparedness laws,” a release issued by the JFF read.

    “The JFF is therefore mandating all concerned with any tournament, youth or adult, to cease and desist all activities. Anybody found to be involved in any new activity will face the full force of the laws of the federation and will be reported to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management for their attention.”

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