ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Manchester United 1
MANCHESTER • It was a breathless, exhilarating way to start the new era of Mancunian rivalry and, at the final whistle, Pep Guardiola could be seen pumping his fists.
His team had held out and Claudio Bravo, his new goalkeeper, was spared after a debut that must have had Manchester City's supporters longing for Joe Hart's presence in goal instead.
Guardiola drew first blood in his renewed managerial duel with Jose Mourinho as City edged Manchester United 2-1 yesterday at Old Trafford.
First-half goals by Kevin de Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho put City in control and despite Bravo's gaffe allowing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to hit back for United, City held firm.
It was the first encounter in the Premier League between Guardiola and Mourinho - former El Clasico sparring partners - and the result gave the former Barcelona coach an eighth win in 17 meetings with the ex-Real Madrid manager.
City's win, their 50th in competitive derby matches, saw them end United's perfect start to the season while extending their own 100 per cent record after four league games.
Mourinho made two surprising changes to his team, awarding Henrikh Mkhitaryan his full debut and bringing in Jesse Lingard in place of Anthony Martial and Juan Mata.
FOR THE SAKE OF A SPOT KICK
If you tell me that Bravo's challenge is not a penalty and a red card, then I tell you that anywhere else on the pitch it is a foul. Even the best referees can make mistakes.
JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United manager, indignant his side should have been awarded a penalty.
But it was a move that backfired as City immediately took a grip on the game and went ahead in the 15th minute through de Bruyne.
There was worse to come for United as City made it 2-0, Iheanacho tapping in from six yards after de Bruyne's low curler struck the base of the left-hand post.
Mourinho wore a face of thunder on the touchline, but Bravo gave his side a lifeline three minutes before half-time.
MAKING THE CHANCES COUNT
When you have that many chances to counter-attack against a team like Manchester United, you have to take advantage.
PEP GUARDIOLA, City manager, on his side playing on the break to their advantage.
The Chilean 'keeper allowed Rooney's deep free kick to slip from his grasp and Ibrahimovic produced an athletic volley to spear the loose ball into the net.
Bravo's jitters continued in the second half to give the home fans renewed belief, and he was extremely fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty in the 56th minute.
In turning away from Ibrahimovic, he overran the ball and launched himself into a lunging challenge on Rooney. The United captain was left writhing in pain, but Clattenburg waved play on.
Mourinho, though, was not convinced.
"If you tell me that Bravo's challenge is not a penalty and a red card, then I tell you that anywhere else on the pitch it is a foul," he said after the match. "Even the best referees can make mistakes."
The Portuguese, however, admitted he had his team selection wrong from the get-go.
"We started the game bad. We started the game with lots of players below their normal level. You need to be sharp, the way you think, the way you play. We had a few players below that and we paid for it.
"Honestly, I had two or three players in the first half that I wouldn't have picked if I could look back at it. They didn't give me what I want. It's their fault, it's my fault."
Guardiola was pleased with the final result and praised his side for their performance and for taking their chances when it mattered most.
"Second half we knew they changed system and with these long balls they are much more strong than us. With these long balls anything can happen, but Nico (Otamendi) in particular was fantastic," the Spaniard said.
"We played good. We won the ball back quickly and created a lot of chances.
"And when you have that many chances to counter-attack against a team like Manchester United, you have to take advantage."
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE