From coronation to capitulation in about 99 seconds. Paul Pogba scored two goals in less than two minutes and Manchester City went from cruising to the title to a second consecutive embarrassing defeat as Manchester United claimed an incredible Manchester Derby victory 3-2 on Saturday at the Etihad.
City could have clinched the Premier League title with six matches to spare, which would have set a record. After two first-half goals the Citizens looked to surely be on their way to a dream victory over their archrival. Instead, Pogba, who City coach Pep Guardiola said Friday was offered to him, completely changed the game with goals in the 53rd and 55th minute. Chris Smalling won it in the 69th, completing another shock defeat after Liverpool routed City 3-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday.
However, the most controversial moment came when Ashley Young took out Sergio Aguero in the box. While Young got the ball first, his studs made contact with Aguero’s shin in what looks like a clear red card. Instead, the referee allowed play to continue. Without VAR to review the play, City was left with no recourse and United — with some help from goalie David de Gea — went on to claim the win, one that will only draw the ire of United haters.
Before the dramatic second half comeback, City dominated the first half. Vincent Kompany, the oft-injured City talisman in defense, scored the opener in the 25th minute.
Ilkay Gündogan then doubled City’s lead on 30 minutes when an absolutely beautiful turn in the box.
City was flying at this point and Raheem Sterling could’ve put the match to bed but skied two shots when in on goal.
Then everything changed early in the second half.
Manchester United pulled one back in the 53rd minute with a wonderfully worked goal finished off by Pogba.
— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) April 7, 2018
Then Pogba tied it with a header 99 seconds later. The pass from Alexis Sanchez was just delightful.
POGBOOM! His second in 2 minutes!
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 7, 2018
In the 69th minute, Smalling atoned for being beaten by Kompany on the first goal by exploiting even worse defense to score the winner.
City responded by throwing on Kevin de Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, the latter of which should have drawn a penalty. But de Gea was unbeatable in the second half.
United’s win in the Manchester Derby probably won’t prevent City from winning the Premier League title, but it did save the Red Devils the embarrassment of allowing their archrivals to win it in the derby. With a little help from a referee who apparently couldn’t see Young’s cleats clatter into Aguero’s shin.