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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020


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Hello, and welcome to tonight’s liveblog.

It’s been a less than satisfactory season so far for both these clubs, but a trophy would certainly provide a boost to either.

United did earn a surprise 2-1 win the last time the sides met back in December, though they still currently trail City by 13 points in the Premier League.

A win over their bitter rivals would certainly help alleviate some of the criticism that has been aimed at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of late.

You get the feeling a win for Pep Guardiola would be similarly significant. The fact that they sit 14 points behind Liverpool suggests City are unlikely to retain the Premier League title, so coming away from this season with a least one major honour would somewhat soften the blow in that regard.

Confirmation of tonight’s teams…

Who do you think will progress?

Poll Results:

Man City (670)
Man United (338)

manchester-united-v-manchester-city-carabao-cup-semi-final-first-leg-old-trafford A fan outside the ground before the Carabao Cup semi final first leg match at Old Trafford. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

We’re underway…

It’s been a pretty uneventful opening, with neither side threatening.

As I type, though, there’s a collector’s item — a City defender booting the ball out of play when under pressure from United’s intense pressing.

Good play from Rashford!

He sprints past Otamendi easily, though Fernandinho is perfectly placed to intercept the young striker’s low cross.

United threaten again!

A long ball is played up to Greenwood, who heads it down for Rashford.

Again though, as the England international sprints towards goal, Fernandinho keeps his cool to make a well-timed challenge.

Man City have had 57% so far according to Sky.

They have done very little with the ball, however.

Pep Guardiola, in the pre-match press conference, kept mentioning his team’s poor start the last time the sides met, so it’s understandable that they’d be apprehensive this evening.

Out of nothing, Man City are ahead!

Bernardo Silva is afforded far too much space on the edge of the area, and he curls an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.

Another moment of danger for City.

Claudio Bravo has to sprint well outside his box, just getting to a loose ball ahead of Greenwood.

City go close to making it two.

A one-two with De Bruyne sets Walker free down the right.

The full-back’s low cross finds Sterling, whose goal-bound attempt is blocked by Wan-Bissaka.

City double their advantage.

Bernardo Silva plays a glorious defence-splitting through pass, which takes a slight deflection off a sliding Lindelöf, before finding Mahrez.

The Algerian winger then coolly rounds De Gea, before slotting the ball into the empty net.

This could get ugly from a United perspective.

City break with pace.

De Bruyne takes it past Jones. His subsequent shot is saved by De Gea, but it rebounds off the unfortunate Pereira and goes into the net.

This has been a real masterclass from City, though United have been woeful and are facing humiliation on home turf.

City look like scoring every time they attack.

Mahrez runs down the right menacingly. His low cross finds Sterling, but the attacker mis-hits his finish.

United made one change at half-time.

Matic is on in place of Lingard, which suggests the main aim now is to prevent the scoreline getting more embarrassing.

City continue to threaten.

Mendy’s ball across the box finds Mahrez, who has got in behind Williams.

However, the winger’s shot hits the outside of the post from a tight angle.

United are looking a bit more solid with Matic in the middle now.

You feel with half an hour to go, if they can at least hold City scoreless for a half, there will be some relief.

They are also showing a degree of attacking intent. Rodri has just been booked for a cynical foul that brought Pereira’s purposeful run to a halt.

Another change for United.

Daniel James is replaced by youngster Angel Gomes.

According to Sky, tonight is the first time an away side has scored three goals in the first half at Old Trafford since Middlesbrough did so in 1997.

It’s almost impossible to imagine any way back for them in the tie now. The second leg looks a formality.

Man United have been better in this second half and they get their reward.

It starts with a sloppy pass from De Bruyne and ends with Rashford slotting home with a clinical finish.

Prior to scoring, the England international had plenty of work to do, latching on to Greenwood’s through pass and comfortably beating Otamendi.

Just before that, Riyad Mahrez’s effort was well saved by De Gea, after the Algerian had got the better of Williams.

Worry scenes for City fans, as De Bruyne is down receiving treatment.

As that happens, an animated, intense-looking Guardiola is shown giving instructions to Rodri on the sideline.

Unsurprisingly, De Bruyne is then replaced, with Gabriel Jesus coming on in his place.

The Belgian international does not look too badly injured as he comes off.

United also make a change, as Greenwood is replaced by Martial.

City make another change.

Mahrez, who has looked impressive this evening, has been replaced by Phil Foden.

Out of nothing, as City’s backline back off, Rashford produces a stinging shot from the edge of the area that Bravo has to parry out for a corner.

It couldn’t get much worse after the first half, but United have restored some pride in this second period.

manchester-united-v-manchester-city-carabao-cup-semi-final-first-leg-old-trafford Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea looks dejected after team-mate Andreas Pereira (left) scores an own goal. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

So that’s that. City go into the second leg with a commanding lead.

Though that Rashford goal has given them faint hope, it’s hard to see any way back for United, particularly given that they have to go to the Etihad.

The Red Devils were largely outplayed this evening, with their improved second-half performance creditable, even if it can be partially attributed to City taking their foot off the pedal to a degree.

Solskjaer’s side have already stunned Pep Guardiola’s men once this season, so it would be foolish to completely write them off, but City showed this evening that they are the better footballing team, and if they can play anywhere near as well in the return leg, they will surely advance.

Right, that’s all from me.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

We’ll have more reaction to follow and you can read our match report here.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy


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