Goal of the day: Smalling’s derby winner

Friday 22 November 2019 08:00

Date: 7 April 2018, Premier League
Background: Going into this game, Jose Mourinho’s United were chasing the remaining points required to finish the 2017/18 season in the top four. The narrative everyone else was focusing on, however, was that a win for Manchester City would confirm them as Premier League champions – a moment which would be made all the sweeter, of course, coming with a win over United in the Manchester derby. By half-time, it looked like that nightmare scenario for the Reds was coming to pass, with Pep Guardiola’s men sitting pretty at 2-0 up…
The goal: The half-time break, however, stirred something within the United team. Paul Pogba led the charge by scoring two goals in consecutive attacks to peg City back within 10 minutes of the restart, paving the way for Chris Smalling’s big moment. Alexis Sanchez provided the delicious free-kick delivery and ‘Smalldini’ was there to smartly guide home the winner side-footed on the volley, sparking wild Reds celebrations in the Etihad.
What happened next: City’s title party was delayed, though they did go on to seal the trophy a week later. Jose’s United finished runners-up with a haul of 81 points.
Reaction: (Picking his favourite goal scored, Chris said the following in the January 2019 issue of club magazine Inside United): “Until recently it would have been a different goal but I think the City goal last season, given everything that had happened in that game. Getting the winner in front of our fans was an amazing feeling.”