Iheanacho: Why My First Manchester Derby Was Abnormal

Iheanacho: Why My First Manchester Derby Was Abnormal


Super Eagles forward Kelechi Iheanacho has admitted that his first ever Manchester derby game for Manchester City was not a normal game, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.


Iheanacho made the starting line-up for City’s first derby this season at Old Trafford as a replacement for Sergio Aguero who was suspended for the clash.

The Nigerian international went on to grab the winner as the Citizens emerged 2-1 winners.

Zenith Ziva

He became the first Nigerian to score in the Manchester derby and the fourth African to achieve the feat.

The 20-year-old Iheanacho who has scored six goals in all competition this season for the struggling Manchester City admitted that it was difficult to stay calm for such a big game.

"Because I was only 19, I did not expect to be in the starting XI," Iheanacho told The Players' Tribune.

"When the manager told me that I was going to start, I tried to tell myself, 'it's just a game of football,' but if I am telling the truth, it is not a normal game.

"The atmosphere and intensity give you a very different feeling as soon as you step on the pitch. It's war for 90 minutes in the Manchester Derby. You cannot give anything less than 100 percent concentration. So I just tried to focus completely on the match.

"I was so happy, but then in the 36th minute, something really amazing happened. I was standing in front of the United goal when Kevin [De Bruyne’s] shot struck the post. 

"The ball came right to my feet. I kicked it into the back of the net without thinking. I looked over to the linesman, not believing that I had really scored. The flag was down. I was onside.

"My teammates ran over to me, and I felt what I can only describe as the 'Manchester Derby feeling.' No one can know how I felt unless they've scored in the derby. I did not even celebrate. The feeling was too much."

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