Manchester United 0 Man City 0 – Derby ends in drab 0-0 draw as VAR robs United off a penalty
2020-21 English Premier League report: Manchester United vs. Manchester City – Saturday, 12th December 2020
Manchester United 0 Man City 0 – Old Trafford
Both United and City sides looking for three valuable points, played out an uninspiring 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in one of the most anticipated derbies of the 2020-21 Premier League season. United who had beaten their city rivals home and away in the league last season, considered themselves unlucky not to have won when VAR denied them a penalty in the second-half.
In a game bereft of excitement or quality, neither side were able to conjure up opportunities amidst the silence of an empty Old Trafford stadium.
City looked the more settled side early on as Raheem Sterling, after combining well with Kevin De Bruyne, saw his shot blocked by Harry Maguire from 10 yards away and a little later Gabriel Jesus’ half-volley from a Riyad Mahrez pass flew over. Pep Guardiola’s side had the best chance in the 35th minute when De Bruyne relayed a ball to Jesus who then found a completely unmarked Mahrez on the right.
The Algerian forward inexplicably shot straight at goalkeeper David De Gea but De Bruyne could not capitalize on the rebound as he blasted his shot wildly over.
Victor Lindelof headed over from a corner in what was United’s only chance in the first-half as the game went goalless into the interval. Gunnar Ole Solksjaer who started with just two strikers, three mainly defensive midfielders and Bruno Fernandes with the task of creating openings, was in a defensive mood, intent more on forcing a draw and earning a point in the process.
But they had their chances in the second-half as Paul Pogba put Rashford in on the left but the striker slipped as he shot harmlessly wide.
The hosts then thought they had earned a penalty when Kyle Walker caught an onrushing Rashford’s boot as the latter went down in the box. But VAR found the English international to be marginally offside and United lost their best opportunity of the game to go ahead.
The Red Devils were suddenly the dominant side post the break. Mason Greenwood’s shot marginally missed the far post and Rashford crashed beyond the same post with a left-footer from just inside the area soon after.
t the other end, De Bruyne over-hit a free-kick from a normally scoreable position but the Belgian playmaker did force Harry Maguire into another important block on 69 minutes from a lovely Jesus lay-off.
Bruno Fernandes tried his luck with long-range efforts towards the end as the match petered into a listless draw that saw an astonishingly low count of four shots on target. It was an unsatisfactory conclusion for both sides, leaving United 8th in the Premier League table and City a place below with only a point separating them.
Man United starting XI: De Gea (goal), Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford.
Man City starting XI: Ederson (goal), Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo, Rodri, Fernandinho, Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling, Jesus.
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