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Ilkay Gundogan Says Bruno Fernandes Dived for Key Manchester Derby Free-Kick

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2020

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on March 8, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan has said that his challenge on Bruno Fernandes that led to a key Manchester United free-kick in Sunday's Manchester derby "was not at all a foul."

Just before the half-hour mark, Gundogan was adjudged to have clipped Fernandes illegally on the edge of the City box. From the consequent free-kick, the Portuguese playmaker found Anthony Martial, who squeezed a first-time finish past Ederson:

Simon Stone @sistoney67

Ederson should have saved. Brilliant free-kick routine. Fernandes chip to Martial and first-time shot but Brazilian got down, got his hand to it and the ball slithered in. Poor that from @ManCity keeper.

The City goalkeeper was also at fault for United's second deep in stoppage time when he inadvertently rolled the ball into Scott McTominay's path, and the Scotland international fired into an empty net to secure a 2-0 win for United:

B/R Football @brfootball

When your keeper throws the ball to an opposition player to score... https://t.co/M3DZ2iJjlF

As far as Gundogan is concerned, though, United should never have had the set piece that led to the opening goal, per Chris Burton of Goal:

"They were much more aggressive, especially after scoring the first goal. They tried to press very high for 10 minutes afterwards. But we started the game really well, got into the last third, but the perception of the last pass was just missing. We had a lot of corners as well, so the chance was there to create more but unfortunately we didn't so this is something on which we have to improve.

"Also there was frustration about the free-kick before the goal—it was not at all a foul. I just touched the ball and he goes on the floor, shouting.

"I don't even know if the referee saw it or just had a feeling that it was a foul. That was very disappointing for me, to be honest because I was straight involved in the action and conceding the goal straight afterwards hurt very much."

For United, it was their first Premier League double over City in a decade and put them back to within three points of the top four:

B/R Football @brfootball

Manchester United have done the double over City for the first time since 2009/10 👊 https://t.co/jVhnVkOBzq

Premier League @premierleague

How the top 6️⃣ look 👀 https://t.co/zkdwTWAQSF

City, meanwhile, dropped even further behind league leaders Liverpool, who could be crowned champions without kicking a ball if the Sky Blues lose their next two matches against Arsenal and Burnley.

After their meeting with the Clarets on Saturday, City welcome Real Madrid to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of their last-16 tie in the UEFA Champions League.

Pep Guardiola's side are leading 2-1 from the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu and are well-placed to advance to the quarter-finals.

With the Premier League title all but conceded, winning the Champions League is City's top priority this season. Under Guardiola, they have not been successful in Europe's elite club tournament, failing to make a semi-final in the Spaniard's three previous seasons in charge.

Without the distraction of a title battle, though, City could be a fearsome prospect in the tournament this season, especially given perennial challengers like Real and Barcelona look weaker than normal. 

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