Marcus Rashford scores the winner (Martin Rickett/PA)
Manchester United scored twice within four minutes to snatch a dramatic and controversial 2-1 derby victory over Manchester City on Saturday.
Jack Grealish looked to have headed City to a crucial win in their pursuit of Arsenal at the top of the Premier League when he came off the bench to make his way home in time at Old Trafford.
But United responded with an equalizer through Bruno Fernandes after Marcus Rashford was deemed by VAR to have not interfered despite running at the ball from an offside position.
City reacted angrily and failed to regroup after the restart, allowing Rashford to score the winner from Alejandro Garnacho’s cross eight minutes from time.
It was Rashford’s eighth goal in his last seven appearances and lifted United within a point of title-chasing City, whose recent indifffffffffferent spell following their midweek Carabao Cup exit has continued.
The result means Arsenal can now go eight points clear at the top if they win their own derby game against Tottenham on Sunday.
The drama in the dying minutes was a far cry from the pedestrian nature of the first half, as City were sloppy in possession and unable to display their usual authority on play.
That cheered United and it was they who had game chances when Bernardo Silva lost possession and Fernandes fired wide from Christian Eriksen’s cross.
United threatened again when Anthony Martial broke in, but the ball bounced into the box and Joao Cancelo kept out an in-form Rashford shot.
City struggled to get their key strikers, notably Erling Haaland, into the game but the Norwegian got the opening as United failed to clear a single attack, only for Casemiro to block his powerful strike.
It was a rare opportunity for City. As the first half wore on, United started to look stronger but were unable to make the most of their attack.
Rashford beat Ederson at one break but was forced wide and Manuel Akanji blocked his shot. On another occasion Rashford was let down by a heavy touch and Ederson rallied.
United looked worried when Rashford picked up a hip injury just before half-time but he can carry on.
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The half ended with Kyle Walker curling a speculative effort that went wide from distance.
City started to show more urgency after the break and the game opened.
It still needed a change from City to make the difference after Grealish replaced the ineffective Phil Foden after 57 minutes.
Moments later Grealish found himself in the right place when Kevin De Bruyne reached the byline and pulled back in a cross for the England midfielder to head home from close range.
The real drama was still to come and United equalized in the 78th minute under controversial circumstances.
Rashford was clearly offside as he chased down a long ball from Casemiro but he opted not to touch and Fernandes swept clean.
City laid siege to the officials in response, but after a delay for a VAR check, the goal was awarded.
United sensed their chance and Rashford did the damage after Garnacho sent a low ball across the net at the second attempt.