Heading into the new year, Manchester United has come out on top against their noisy neighbors Manchester City 74 times, drawing 52, and losing 53. Man City has been dominant in recent years with United holding the historical advantage.
The two sides have played in the Manchester Derby already this season on December 7th. Man United shocked the reigning Premier League champions, beating the Sky Blues 2-1 at the Etihad. Both Manchester squads have struggled this year in the league and are out of the title fight but are still fighting for European success.
Man City made their way to the semi-final off a 3-0 win against Championship side Preston North End in the third round, a 3-1 win against Premier League opponents Southampton in the fourth round, and a 3-1 win against League One outfit Oxford United in the quarter-finals.
Man United beat League One side Rochdale 5-3 in penalties after playing to a 1-1 draw in the third round. The Reds traveled to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea 2-1 in the fourth round. In the quarter-finals, United beat League Two outfit Colchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford.
In the 17th Minute: Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker dribbled into Manchester United’s corner, finding midfielder Bernardo Silva at the corner of the 18-yard box. Bernardo cut across the top of the box in an Arjen Robben type fashion. The moment space opened up between his defender and the goal, Bernado curled a beautiful left-footed shot past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper David De Gea, giving the Sky Blues a 1-0 lead in front of the Stretford End.
In the 24th Minute: Walker whipped a cross into the box. Winger Raheem Sterling tried to extended City’s lead with a near-post shot but United’s defense threw themselves in front of the shot before clearing away the rebound.
In the 33rd Minute: The Red Devils’ backline failed to clear the ball with a header, giving Bernardo the ball at midfield. The Portuguese midfielder slipped the ball through United’s defense, finding winger Riyad Mahrez sprinting down the pitch. With no one between him and De Gea, Mahrez dribbled around the Spaniard and passed the ball into the middle of the goal for the Sky Blues’ second goal and a 2-0 lead.
In the 35th Minute: Reds’ forward Jesse Lingard was shown a yellow card for taking out City center-back Fernandinho with a late tackle.
A Minute Later: United striker Mason Greenwood recovered a deflection at the top of City’s box, sending his shot wide of the goal.
In the 38th Minute: Bernardo found Mahrez at midfield, who charged towards United’s goal. Five yards outside the box, Mahrez played attacking midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who was making his 200th appearance for the club, through before colliding with a defender. De Bruyne faked a shot across the mouth of the goal, making defender Phil Jones fall in the process. With no one on him, De Bruyne smashed a shot but De Gea saved the shot. Unfortunately for the Reds, the save deflected off midfielder Andreas Pereira as he ran back towards the goal and put the ball in his own net, giving City a 3-0 lead.
Halftime: City dominated the first half outshooting United seven to three, including three shots on target compared to United’s zero.
In the 45th Minute: The Reds made a substitution at halftime, bringing on defensive midfielder Nemanja Matić for Lingard to help out the defense.
In the 51st Minute: United midfielder Fred picked up a yellow card for a scissor tackle on Bernardo from behind.
In the 56th Minute: The home crowd grew frustrated with De Gea and the center-backs for not moving the ball upfield fast enough.
In the 63rd Minute: Man City defender Rodri brought down Pereira a few yards outside the box with a tackle foul as he charged towards the goal.
In the 64th Minute: Rashford stepped up to take the free-kick for Rodri’s foul, sending his shot over the crossbar. With the ball going out of play, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær brought on midfielder Angel Gomez for midfielder Daniel James in a like-for-like substitution.
In the 69th Minute: Mahrez dribbled down the wing, doing a few stepovers, before firing a shot at De Gea’s feet, which was saved.
A Minute Later: United countered from midfield off an under-hit pass from De Bruyne. Dribbling towards goal from midfield, Greenwood found Rashford outside the 18. The striker took a few steps into the box before firing a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal to give the Reds some hope with their first goal of the game, leaving the score 3-1 for City.
In the 73rd Minute: United defender Brandon Williams received a yellow card for barreling through Mahrez in the air for a header.
In the 80th Minute: Man City manager Pep Guardiola subbed off De Bruyne for striker Gabriel Jesus after De Bruyne got hit in the head.
A Minute Later: Ole brought on forward Anthony Martial for Greenwood.
In the 86th Minute: Homegrown midfielder Phil Foden came on for the Sky Blues and Mahrez made way for the youngster.
In the 88th Minute: Rashford hit a dipping ball from outside the box, surprising goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who palmed the ball wide for a corner.
Final: Man City held on for the win, and now head into the second-leg with a two-goal advantage. The Citizen started the game strong, taking advantage of United’s shaky defense during the first half. With a 3-0 lead entering the second half, Guardiola’s squad took their foot off the petal. Rashford capitalized shortly after, as United grew into the game. The Sky Blues’ three away goals will be critical in deciding who moves onto the finals at Wembley.
Reigning Carabao Cup champions Man City have not lost in the cup competition since October of 2016. The Sky Blues have won the competition for the last two years and are hungry for a third straight. They will have to take care of business against United on January 29th at the Etihad for the chance to play Leicester City or Aston Villa in the final.