A Heroic Rashford helps Manchester United to defeat Manchester City on a dramatic comeback

Manchester United scored twice in four second-half minutes to turn their Premier League clash against Manchester City on its head.

Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scored in quick succession as Manchester United came from behind to beat Manchester City 2-1 in a dramatic derby at Old Trafford.

Just four minutes separated the two efforts from Erik ten Hag’s side as first Fernandes levelled the scores with a controversial goal to cancel out Jack Grealish’s opener.

There were no arguments about United’s winner, however, with Rashford prodding home at close range after Alejandro Garnacho’s pass across goal.

The win puts United just a point behind their arch-rivals, while handing Arsenal the opportunity to move eight clear with a victory over Tottenham on Sunday.

In-form United had the first opportunity after capitalising on a loose Bernardo Silva pass, Christian Eriksen feeding a pass through to Fernandes who dragged an effort wide of the target.

City started poorly with sloppy passes throughout the opening half hour, providing encouragement to the home fans, though United could not profit.

Rashford came closest as he was first denied by Manuel Akanji after rounding Ederson, with the Brazilian goalkeeper then diving at the England star’s feet after Eriksen had sent him through on goal.

Pep Guardiola shuffled his deck 11 minutes into the second half, replacing Phil Foden with Grealish, who took just three minutes to make an impact, heading home Kevin de Bruyne’s chipped cross at the far post.

United equalised in contentious fashion, Fernandes curling home past Ederson as Rashford, who was in an offside position, ran onto the pass but did not touch the ball, with the initial offside decision being overruled by VAR.

And there was more drama soon after when Rashford diverted Garnacho’s low cross in to put United within touching distance of City in the Premier League standings after a ninth consecutive win in all competitions.

What does it mean? United in title hunt

Few would have foreseen this scenario when Erik ten Hag’s stint in charge began with consecutive defeats to Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion, but victory in the derby puts United in the title equation heading into the second half of the season.

United stand six points behind leaders Arsenal, who face Spurs on Sunday, and face Mikel Arteta’s side at Emirates Stadium next week, when a win would put them three points adrift, should Antonio Conte’s men do them a favour.

Few would bet against United, with the win extending a stellar record that has seen them gain up 38 points from the past 16 games – more than any other side across the same period.

Rashford runs riot

Rashford has now netted in seven consecutive appearances across all competitions and becomes the first United player to do so since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008.

United’s goals serve as evidence of their never-say-die attitude, having scored nine times in the final 15 minutes of Premier League games this term.

City in a spin

Having dominated in the reverse fixture earlier this season, winning 6-3 at Etihad Stadium, City looked a completely different side in a hapless display at Old Trafford.

Guardiola’s side had just one shot on target from five attempts, while star striker Erling Haaland, having hit a hat-trick in the previous meeting, had just 19 touches – fewer than any other player to feature in the full 90 minutes.

Key Opta Facts

– Manchester United have won nine consecutive matches in all competitions, their longest run since a run of nine between December and January in 2016-17 under Jose Mourinho.

– This is the first time Manchester City have opened the scoring after half-time and gone on to lose a Premier League match since August 2013, when they were beaten 3-2 by Cardiff City.

– United have won a Manchester derby at Old Trafford after drawing 0-0 at half-time for the first time in Premier League history, having drawn four and lost two previously.

– City had just one shot on target, their joint-fewest in a Premier League match under Pep Guardiola.

What’s next?

United’s tough test continues against leaders Arsenal next Sunday, while City will need a response on Thursday against Tottenham.

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