United edge past City in Manch­ester derby

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Manch­ester United earned a place in the quar­ter-fi­nals of the EFL Cup with a 1-0 win over ri­vals Manch­ester City.

A se­cond-half goal from Juan Mata proved enough in a game where Pep Guardiola’s side failed to reg­is­ter a sin­gle shot on tar­get.

On Sun­day af­ter­noon against Chelsea, United fell be­hind after just 30 sec­onds and there was al­most a sim­i­lar oc­cur­rence on Wed­nes­day night as City wasted a glo­ri­ous chance in just the se­cond minute.

A di­rect run from Je­sus Navas ended with a su­perb cross to­wards the near post for Kelechi Iheana­cho but the young for­ward mist­imed his div­ing header and it went over the cross­bar.

That was as good as it got for ei­ther side dur­ing the first 30 min­utes with much of the game being played in the mid­dle of the pitch but as the first half drew to a close, both Mar­cus Rash­ford and Iheana­cho were guilty of not mak­ing the most of open­ings at ei­ther end.

Within four min­utes of the restart, Paul Pogba should have given United the lead after being played in by Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic but de­spite hav­ing both cor­ners to choose from, he put his shot too close to Willy Ca­ballero and he made a su­per save.

How­ever, it took the home side just five min­utes to move ahead as Mata con­verted into the bot- tom corner from eight yards al­though City had rea­son to feel hard done by after An­der Her­rera ap­peared to foul Fer­nando in or­der for Ibrahi­movic’s pass to reach the Spa­niard.

De­spite fall­ing be­hind, City showed no ex­tra qual­ity in the fi­nal third and with 20 min­utes re­main­ing, they had not tested David de Gea as Alek­san­dar Ko­larov blazed two spec­u­la­tive ef­forts high into the stands.

The ex­pectancy was that the in­tro­duc­tion of Ser­gio Aguero would force the is­sue in the fi­nal third but the Ar­gen­tine added very lit­tle to City’s ef­fort as the com­bi­na­tion of Mar­cos Rojo and Da­ley Blind re­mained strong in the cen­tre of the United de­fence.

City con­tin­ued to probe un­til the fi­nal whis­tle but that shot on goal never ma­te­ri­alised and United com­fort­ably held out to re­turn to win­ning ways just three days after their em­bar­rass­ment at Stam­ford Bridge.

West Ham send Chelsea crash­ing out of EFL Cup

West Ham United de­feated ri­vals Chelsea 2-1 at the Lon­don Sta­dium to progress into the quar­ter-fi­nal stage of the EFL Cup.

A goal in ei­ther half from Cheikhou Kouy­ate and Edim­il­son Fer­nan­des was enough to earn the Ham­mers a big vic­tory on home soil, put­ting an end to their op­po­nents’ im­pres­sive re­cent run.

It was the Ham­mers who took the lead soon after, though, as a corner was not fully dealt with by the vis­i­tors which al­lowed Mark Noble to cross for Kouy­ate, who some­how gen­er­ated enough pace and power on the ball to beat As­mir Be­govic from his header from just inside the box.

West Ham bagged them­selves a se­cond just three min­utes into the se­cond half thanks to Fer­nan­des - the mid­fielder cut­ting in from the right and plac­ing the ball just out of Be­govic’s reach, mo­ments after the Bos­nian had de­nied Payet with another im­pres­sive stop at his front post.

Os­car flicked one shot into the side-net­ting and Wil­lian dragged an ef­fort wide when picked out in a good po­si­tion, but it took the vis­it­ing side un­til the fi­nal 10 min­utes un­til they truly stepped things up again.

Gary Cahill was de­nied by a switched-on Ran­dolph at the front post, and then Hazard struck the cross­bar to send out a fur­ther warn­ing to the Ham­mers. Yes­ter­day Chievo-Bologna................................1-1 Fiorentina-Cro­tone ..........................1-1 In­ter-Torino......................................2-1 Ju­ven­tus-Sam­p­do­ria ........................4-1 Lazio-Cagliari....................................4-1 Napoli-Em­poli ..................................2-0 Pescara-Ata­lanta..............................0-1 Sas­suolo-AS Roma ...........................1-3

Stand­ings

Manch­ester United’s Juan Mata cel­e­brates scor­ing yes­ter­day Photo: AP

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