MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez both scored twice as Manchester City restored their lead at the top of the Premier League to six points with a 4-1 derby victory over Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
United had put up a decent fight in the first half, going in 2-1 down at the break, but City’s quality showed after the interval with Ralf Rangnick’s side looking increasingly demoralised.
City have 69 points from 28 games with Liverpool on 63 from 27 matches. United slip down to fifth place, a point behind Arsenal who beat Watford on Sunday and have three games in hand.
Belgian De Bruyne was outstanding, running the game from central midfield and then presenting himself as a threat in the box.
United were without Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani through injuries and surprisingly Rangnick opted to play Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in forward positions.
City made the perfect start with De Bruyne putting them ahead in the fifth minute, slotting home a low pulled-back pass from Bernardo Silva after they overloaded the left-side.
But United drew level through a superb curling shot from Jadon Sancho, who took his time and cut inside after a swift break before beating Ederson with his confident strike.
But Belgian De Bruyne restored City’s advantage finding the target after Phil Foden had powered into the area and seen his shot parried out by David De Gea.
City dominated after the break and made it 3-1 when De Bruyne struck a corner deep to the edge of the box and Mahrez met it with a first-time drive which took a slight deflection off Harry Maguire.
Mahrez completed the victory with a goal that was initially flagged as offside but VAR found the Alex Telles had played the Algerian onside before he latched on to an Ilkay Gundogan pass and blasted in off the shoulder of De Gea.
The scoreline was a fair reflection of City’s dominance and United will face the music after losing heart following City’s third goal.
Reporting by Simon Evans Editing by Toby Davis
Photo Jack Grealish (R) of Manchester City in action against Bruno Fernandes (L) of Manchester United during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Manchester United in Manchester, Britain, 06 March 2022. EPA-EFE/ANDREW YATES