- Published: Friday, 28 April 2017 06:48
It was honours even in Thursday night’s Manchester derby as United held firm to claim a vital point against City at the Etihad Stadium, despite being reduced to 10 men late on.
The Blues dominated what was, at times, a fiery game and the Reds were forced to play the final 10 minutes of normal and added time after Marouane Fellaini was dismissed for a clash with Sergio Aguero.
The result leaves the Manchester rivals still well-placed in the race for a top-four finish, with both sides hot on the heels of Liverpool having played a game less than the Merseysiders.
Mourinho made four changes to the side which won so comfortably away at Burnley four days earlier with Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford coming in for Ashley Young, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Wayne Rooney.
United were on the attack from the off with the front three of Mkhitaryan, Rashford and Anthony Martial interchanging nicely, but it was City who had the first clear-cut chance when Kevin De Bruyne got in down the right on nine minutes. His low cross found the menacing Sergio Aguero who struck the outside of the post with his shot.
At the other end, the pace of Rashford and Martial kept the City defenders on their toes and a cross from Martial on 25 minutes almost led to the opener for the Reds. Claudio Bravo could only palm the centre into the path of Mkhitaryan, but the City goalkeeper recovered to block the Armenian’s shot.
Despite Eric Bailly being in imperious form at the heart of United’s backline, David De Gea was the busier of the two keepers in the first period and he dealt well with long-range efforts from Aguero and Aleksandar Kolarov as half-time drew closer.
Arguably the best opportunity of the half fell to the lively Ander Herrera when he rose unmarked to meet a Rashford free-kick at the back post, but the Spaniard found the wrong side of the post with his header.
City were the brighter side after the break with Aguero and Sterling both having early sighters. The Blues’ possession count and shots from distance increased as the clock ticked towards the hour-mark, but the Reds held firm at the back.
A Nicolas Otamendi header from a corner deflected off Bailly and just over the bar as City continued to put United under pressure.
An injury to Bravo resulted in a change in goal for City as Willy Cabellero came on in the 79th minute. Jesus Navas also entered the fray and the Reds followed suit with a switch as Martial made way for Lingard.
There was another change to the on-pitch personnel five minutes from time, but it was of an unwanted kind for the Reds as Fellaini, a minute after being booked for a foul on Aguero, received his marching orders after squaring up to the same player.
Mkhitaryan was sacrificed from the attack as Mourinho’s men looked to shore up for a point by bringing on young defender Tim Fosu-Mensah. Six minutes of injury time followed as did a disallowed goal from Gabriel Jesus who headed home from an offside position much to United's relief.
The draw leaves the two sides a point apart in the table – City in fourth place and United in fifth - after playing the same number of matches. Both have a game in hand on third-placed Liverpool who lie a point above the Blues. It remains all to play for in the race for a top-four spot in the Premier League.
Possession: City 69% United 31%
Shots: City 19 United 3
Shots on target: City 6 United 1
Corners: City 7 United 4