Final Score: Manchester City 1 : 0 Manchester United

Goal Scored: SergioAi??AgueroAi??(63′), Assist: Gael Clichy

Red Card: Chris Smalling (39′)

SergioAi??Aguero’sAi??thumping effort a few minutes after the hour mark was the difference in an electric 168th Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium. Much of the frustration after having a couple of decent penalty shouts turned down went intoAi??Aguero’sAi??unstoppable shot from inside the box, as an excellent David DeAi??GeaAi??was finally beaten. With this win, City have kept up with the top two in the Premier League table – 6 points behind leaders Chelsea and 2 behind surprise package Southampton.

Turning Point

The turning point of the match undoubtedly was the sending off of Manchester UnitedAi??centreAi??back Chris Smalling, sent off for two bookable offences, the first of which was a stupid and needless foul to commit. Having found himself in the City box at the half an hour mark,Ai??after a United corner was safely collected by Joe Hart, Smalling, inexplicably, decided to block Hart’s way as the City keeper attempted to punt the ball up field. Referee Michael Oliver had no choice but to book Smalling. However, a few United fans were left wondering how Joe Hart was left on the field after appearing to head-butt the referee.

And 8 minutes later, Smalling had scythed down James Milner as the City man was looking to cross, getting none of the ball, and the defender knew he was off.Ai??Before this turning point, United were starting to get settled into the game. This, after City had had two clear cut chances to score, both denied by an excellent David deAi??Gea, who is on his way to becoming one of the best goalkeepers in a United shirt. One of these was the save of the match, following a superbly slick City move that included intricate passing around the United penalty area, which released JesusAi??Navas, whose effort on target from six yards was beaten away by the Spanish goalkeeper. And the other save, in the 21st minute, where DeAi??GeaAi??charged off his line to deny SergioAi??AgueroAi??left the two ex-teammates needing medical attention.

United then started to boss the game in midfield, the combination of Wayne Rooney,Ai??MarouaneAi??FellainiAi??and Daley Blind choking up Fernando and YayaAi??Toure’sAi??freedom in the middle of the park. Twice United won the ball back from FernandoAi??high up the pitch but could not capitalize with numbers in attack. Then came Smalling’s moment of madness and United were down to 10 men.

PenaltiesAi??Unawarded

AgueroAi??was unlucky not have been awarded a penalty in the 43rd minute, afterAi??FellainiAi??looked to catch him on the ankle. VanAi??Gaal, sensing the need for reinforcements at the back, brought on the experienced Michael Carrick to partnerAi??MarcosAi??RojoAi??at the back. Even as VanAi??GaalAi??was preparing his half time team talk, 3 minutes into first half stoppage time, City had a stonewall penaltyAi??appeal turned down as MarcosAi??RojoAi??made contact with YayaAi??ToureAi??who was through on goal and brought the big Ivorian down. The referee did not give what should have been a clear penalty and United should have gone down to 9 men at the stroke of half time.

City came back looking to make their one man advantage useful as they stretched United , who doggedly defended with their backs to the wall, Di Maria and Rooney, now playing left midfield, supporting the wing backs Valencia and Luke Shaw at every opportunity. Rooney was playing out of his skin, after making his comeback, as he made a trademark sprint back to the United goal and pulled off a great tackle, dispossessing the charging YayaAi??Toure. Minutes later however, United lostAi??Rojo, who injured his shoulder in a sliding tackle and Louis VanAi??Gaal’sAi??side were left with Michael Carrick and 19 year old Paddy McNair atAi??centreAi??back, in the Manchester derby against the defending champions.

The Goal

AgueroAi??had another claim to a penalty turned down as Carrick andAi??FellainiAi??closed in on him. There appeared to be contact but it looked like the Argentine went down looking for it. However, a penalty could have been given. However, 3 minutes later City exploited United’s weakness in numbers as Gael Clichy trundled forward the left channel calling for the ball andAi??ToureAi??found him. The Frenchman had acres of space as Valencia tried to track back and close him down, but the ex-Arsenal man’s cross foundAi??AgueroAi??in the box who rifled a shot into the back of the net, City finally getting a deserved breakthrough.

United then looked to attack a bit, throwing men forward when they got the chance, VanAi??PersieAi??getting a chance to shoot at goal, but not beating Hart. City brought on SamirAi??NasriAi??andAi??EdinAi??DzekoAi??in an attempt to kill off the game with a second goal but it was United who got stronger. Wayne Rooney made a fantastic dart across the pitch which finished with a sprint past Fernando and a delightful nutmeg through VincentAi??Kompany’sAi??legs, but the United captain decided to pass the ball instead of taking the shot -Ai??Angel di Maria eventually took the shot forcing Hart to make a sharp save to his right.

United Went All Out for theAi??Equaliser

FellainiAi??had the next chance to equalize as he powered his way pastAi??KompanyAi??from a United free kick, but did not head the ball clean enough. VanAi??GaalAi??then sent on young James Wilson, sensing the tiredness in the CityAi??defence. In response,Ai??PellegriniAi??shutAi??up shop by introducingAi??FernandinhoAi??for theAi??Aguero, the man of the match. United continued toAi??creatAi??though,Ai??FellainiAi??getting another chance but failing to head pastAi??Kompany. City meanwhile, got a break andAi??Navas’sAi??shot thudded against the post, while YayaAi??ToureAi??had another chance to send a curler past DeAi??Gea, but missed the target.

United finished brightly, Wilson taking on Clichy and winning a couple of corners, but Di Maria’s delivery from them was abject. In the end, City held on for the three points and United were left ruing Smalling’s error inAi??judgement. It was an electric derby and City won the game deservedly, keeping in mind that a few decisions went against them and United should have been down to 9 men. It was a heartening display forAi??PellegriniAi??whose men came back from the loss at Upton Park, while for United, VanAi??GaalAi??must be critical of their defending, which is not up to the mark in any way.

We leave you with the highlights of the game:

Manchester United vs Manchester City 0-1 by myflexmood1

 

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