Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling lead an outstanding Manchester United comeback against Manchester City.
Video: Paul Pogba scores astonishing brace for Manchester United in outstanding comeback after first-half embarrassment vs Man City
Video: Chris Smalling completes incredible Manchester United comeback, outstanding assist from Sanchez
Video: De Gea produces outstanding save to protect incredible Manchester United comeback in final minutes vs Man City
And breath. As Sir Alex Ferguson once said following the 1999 Champions League final – “Football. Bloody hell!”
Manchester United and Jose Mourinho crafted arguably one of the most iconic Premier League comebacks to prevent Manchester City from sealing the title, for now.
The first half saw City produce a first-half performance that embodied and optimised the character, class and domination they have shown all season in the league.
Goals from Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan looked to give Pep that grip that he has craved on the Premier League title. Further, City carved out a monumental nine chances in the first-half alone.
Mourinho’s men looked beaten, embarrassed and belittled.
However, the second-half saw an enormous role reversal. Paul Pogba lead the United charge with two goals in just two minutes. The Frenchman’s hair may have been dyed blue for the clash but his intentions suggested that he felt the colour of Manchester needed to be very different this evening.
Chris Smalling then converted what would become the winner just ten minutes later after latching onto an Alexis Sanchez cross.
The defining moment however came in the final minutes. Leroy Sane served Sergio Aguero an opportunity to level the game.
Just six-yards from goal the Argentine leapt to turn a header towards the United goal. It almost felt inevitable that the man who secured Manchester City their first ever Premier League title six years ago would rescue their attempts to clinch it today.
David De Gea however produced a save that so many have come to expect on a regular basis from the United number one.
Yes, City had clear penalty shouts aplenty – but that will all be forgotten in the history books.
Jose Mourinho today was at his quintessential and iconic best. You will find it hard to name a man who plays the villain of football better than the self-proclaimed special one. Mourinho opened the door to City to seal the league title today. He practically served it on a plate. But, in typical Mourinho style he orchestrated and lead a comeback that had spite, dirt and class in equal quantities.
If United handed City the title today in the fashion that the first-half forecasted, it would have almost been suicide for the United boss. His job, integrity and legacy looked in tatters.
City and Guardiola however will have to fight another day to clinch the title. They will get there. But, not on United’s account and not on Mourinho’s watch.
Stars, pundits and legends reacted to today’s blockbuster below.
— Jesse Lingard (@JesseLingard) April 7, 2018
— Chris Smalling (@ChrisSmalling) April 7, 2018
U N I T E D ????? pic.twitter.com/mwig1yQZP8
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) April 7, 2018
Paul Pogba telling the Manchester United fans to ignore what Pep said!! pic.twitter.com/Cj5ZHEqbYq
— Man Utd Videos ??? (@ManUtdVines) April 7, 2018
Football’s endless capacity to thrill. Hard to compute a game like that. Heart, bravery and character. @ManUtd
— Stewart Gardner (@stewartgardner) April 7, 2018
Just got a text saying “this might just might be remembered as the day Jose arrived as a real Manchester United manager”. To come back from the low of the first half like this, and potentially his worst possible humiliation, is really significant going forward.
A “bonding” game.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) April 7, 2018