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Foden, City inflict more misery on United
Published on: Tuesday, March 05, 2024
By: AFP
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Foden, City inflict more misery on United
Foden runs with the ball during the match against United.
MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola said Phil Foden has become a “world class” talent capable of deciding big games after the 23-year-old scored twice in Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford’s wonder strike had fired United into a shock lead at the Etihad.

Erling Haaland was then guilty of a miss that will go down in Premier League folklore when he fired over an open goal just before half-time.

But Foden ensured City ceded no ground in the title race as he blasted into the top corner to level and then produced a composed finish 10 minutes from time.

Haaland atoned for his earlier miss in added time as City moved to within one point of Liverpool ahead of a top-of-the-table clash between the two next Sunday.

“I always had the feeling he would score goals and now he is winning games. To become a world class-player at that age you have to win games,” said Guardiola.

“He lives to play football. That’s why with 18, 19 years old he proved things but now he’s more mature.

“He always scored goals but now scores goals that win games and when you do this, you reach another level as a player.”

An 11th league defeat of the season for United leaves Erik ten Hag’s men 11 points adrift of the top four with 11 games remaining.

United could have few complaints after being outplayed and having just one shot on target, even if it was a spectacular one.

Rashford rounded on his critics this week as he hit back at questions of his commitment.

The England international has been a pale imitation of the forward who scored 30 goals last season for most of this campaign, but showed a glimpse of the quality by smashing in off the crossbar from long range.

Guardiola’s men dominated from that moment on, but were kept at bay for nearly an hour by wayward finishing and some fine goalkeeping by Andre Onana.

Twice the Cameroonian foiled Foden when clean through, while Rodri was also denied by a smart stop low to his left.

United’s lead remained intact until half-time but only thanks to a moment that will be replayed for years.

City finally cut the visitors’ massed defence to shreds as Rodri’s cross was headed back across goal by Foden, inviting the finishing touch from Haaland.

However, he incredibly turned the ball over with the goal gaping from point-blank range.

The rearguard action from the Red Devils was finally undone as Foden produced a strike to match Rashford’s in the first half.

Ten Hag was furious that a foul had not been awarded to Rashford at the other end, but he appeared to go to ground too easily under contact from Kyle Walker.

Rodri picked out Foden, who cut inside and arrowed a blistering shot into the top corner.

A slick one-two between Foden and Julian Alvarez opened up the United defence for the decisive goal as the England international fired in his 18th of the season.

“That’s my aim, to turn up in the big games,” said Foden, who has now scored six goals in nine Premier League games against United.

“That’s what I want to do. I think this season I’m proving that.

“I understand what it means to the fans. It means everything to me. To score is even better, but it was all about the win today.”

Haaland’s redemption rounded off a fine afternoon for the English champions.

Rodri dispossessed Sofyan Amrabat and teed up the Norwegian to curl beyond Onana for his 28th goal of the season.

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