Manchester United – Man City: Who needs strikers when you have John Stones and Fernandinho?
Two unlikely scorers led Manchester City past derby rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in a 2-0 win in a League Cup semifinal on Wednesday.
City moves on to meet Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium in April, Pep Guardiola’s men looking for a fourth-straight League Cup.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
United bombs out of at the semifinal stage for the fourth time in its last five tournaments, the exception being its Champions League group stage exit last month.
Fernandinho scored his first goal since Oct. 20, 2018 against Burnley, his only goal since the start of that season, while Stones hadn’t scored since a Champions League defeat of Napoli on Nov. 1, 2017.
It was 0-0 the last time these two teams met, and they’ll meet again in the Premier League on March 16 at the Etihad Stadium.
Here’s your recap, video highlights, and three things we learned from Manchester United – Man City.
Three things we learned from the Manchester derby
1. Poor. What is… Man United in semis and Harry Maguire with crosses from his left? We saw it against Sevilla in the Europa League and against RB Leipzig in the decisive game of the Champions League group stage: Harry Maguire, for as strong as he’s been in the last few months, is having real trouble being decisive with whipped-in service. First there was Suso’s goal in the UEL, then Angelino in the UCL, now John Stones darting between Maguire and Luke Shaw to put in Phil Foden’s free kick into the channel. It’s a dangerous free kick and you can tell Maguire was worried about putting the hard-hit ball into his own goal, but he has to find a way to clear the danger.
2. Steffen’s early save should resonate: No one’s calling for Ederson to hand his starting spot to his American backup, but Man City keeper Zack Steffen made a terrific stop in the opening stages of Wednesday’s match. It was one of the few moments of worry City’s improved defense conceded — Ruben Dias and Stones were terrific again — but don’t forget that United didn’t even have the chance to defend at all costs against City because of one of Steffen’s two saves on the day.
3. Pep and Mou again: The League Cup Final will be the 26th time Guardiola has matched wits with old nemesis Jose Mourinho (The 25th time is Feb. 13 at the Etihad). Pep is 11W-6D-7L against Mou, but the Portuguese wizard has led Spurs to consecutive 2-0 defeats of Man City and has won three of four against Mourinho dating back to their time as Manchester derby rivals. Whether Spurs – Man City, Bayern Munich – Chelsea, or Barcelona – Real Madrid, the storylines have always included the managers. Look out.
Man of the Match: Stones
Ruben Dias and Fernandinho were both instrumental in the win, but Stones’ opening goal sweetens his strong showing. On a 97-touch day, Stones added two tackles, a blocked shot, three clearances, and an interception to his goal.
John Stones puts Man City one step closer to Wembley! pic.twitter.com/wGZqo7WDbg
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 6, 2021