Manchester United staged an incredible second-half comeback to beat Manchester City and delay their rivals’ Premier League title celebrations at Etihad Stadium.
Paul Pogba scored two goals in two minutes to overturn City’s first-half lead before Chris Smalling’s header completed the dramatic turnaround.
Vincent Kompany had scored a thumping header before Ilkay Gundogan’s sublime skill and precise finish doubled City’s lead.
But City, who would have been crowned champions with victory, will have to wait as second-placed United narrowed the gap to 13 points ensuring there were no celebrations on derby day.
City will need to win at Tottenham next Saturday and hope United drop points at home to West Brom the day after to be confirmed as league winners weekend.
They really should have had it wrapped up on Saturday after a blistering opening period saw them tear United apart and hold a comfortable lead going into the second half.
They could have had a penalty within five minutes when Ashley Young slipped and appeared to touch the ball away from Raheem Sterling after David Silva had crossed in from the left.
Bernardo Silva was inches away from poking home shortly afterwards but he failed to get enough on the ball to beat the outstretched leg of David de Gea.
Kompany then made no mistake when he leapt highest and beat Smalling to head home from a corner and give City a deserved lead, before Gundogan turned away from Smalling in the box to make it 2-0.
Sterling should have scored twice but he fired both efforts over the bar and Gundogan also had a free header from eight yards out which he squandered – all missed opportunities in the first half.
City then started the second half in similar fashion as Gundogan clipped the post with a curling effort but Pogba’s quick double interrupted their rhythm and reversed the momentum.
Smalling, who had been at fault for both goals in the first half, then directed his header past Ederson to round off a tremendous comeback in the 69th minute.
That was not the end of the drama, though, as substitute Sergio Aguero had a strong claim for a penalty turned down after a challenge by Young – and moments later players from both sides clashed as tensions boiled over.
De Gea then pulled off a sensational save in the 89th minute to deny Aguero a late equaliser, before Sterling saw the ball ricochet off his hip and almost squeeze in before the keeper palmed it away.
‘Can we improve enough next season’ – what the bosses said
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho speaking to Sky Sports: “We moved the ball more than any team has against Manchester City. We pressed a bit higher and we kept the shape to get a good result.
“I think mathematically we need six points to stay in the top four and this win is part of that.
“Our challenge is to finish second but I want to congratulate City for the title – because they are going to win and deservedly. They gave no chance to the others because they had this season of not stopping winning.
“My objective here was to get points and not spoil any celebrations. The point is can we improve enough to catch them next season?”
United’s comeback kings – the best of the stats
- City lost a Premier League game they were winning by a two-goal margin for the first time since October 2008.
- United have won nine Premier League away games when trailing by at least two goals – four more than any other side in the competition.
- This was the first time a side managed by Pep Guardiola has conceded at least three goals in consecutive games in all competitions, having lost 3-0 to Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday.
- Guardiola lost a game in which his side was winning by a two-goal margin for the first time since December 2013, when his Bayern Munich side lost 3-2 to Manchester City.
- Both Smalling and Pogba have won all nine Premier League games in which they have scored – only former Liverpool forward Ryan Babel has a better 100% record in the competition (11/11).
- There were just 97 seconds between Pogba’s first and second goals.
- United forward Alexis Sanchez has provided two assists in a Premier League game for only the second time, also doing so against Newcastle in December 2014.
- Sanchez has had a hand in four goals in his past two Premier League games for Manchester United (one goal, three assists).
Manchester City welcome Liverpool for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday (19:45 BST kick-off) before travelling to Wembley to take on Tottenham in the Premier league on Saturday (19:45).
Manchester United host bottom side West Brom to Old Trafford in the league next Sunday (16:00).