[Premier League] Manchester United 0-3 Manchester City
ManCity: Edin Dzeko (1, 56), Yaya Toure (90)
Manchester United fell to defeat in the derby as Manchester City kept themselves very much in the hunt for the Barclays Premier League title.
The Reds showed plenty of fight and endeavour but lacked the necessary guile to break down a confident and free-flowing City side, who came away with the points thanks to goals from Edin Dzeko in either half and a late Yaya Toure strike.
Dzeko stunned Old Trafford inside the first minute when he converted from close range after Samir Nasri’s low shot came back off the post, and he volleyed home his second from Nasri’s corner 10 minutes into the second half, before Toure netted a low effort at the death.
After their early opener, the visitors took a grip on the game, with David Silva going close and David De Gea denying Dzeko with a superb fingertip save. It wasn’t until midway through the first half that Joe Hart was tested for the first time, but the City keeper comfortably clung on to Marouane Fellaini’s shot, before Juan Mata curled over from the edge of the box.
David Moyes brought on Shinji Kagawa in place of Tom Cleverley at the interval but City began the second period as they had the first, and Fernandinho glanced a header inches over before Dzeko guided home the second goal.
It was a game-breaker and, though Danny Welbeck, twice, and Wayne Rooney went close to reducing the arrears – Hart denying them on each occasion – City were able to close out the game with relative ease. And Toure added gloss when he fired past De Gea in the 90th minute to make it five derby wins from six for City in the league.
The match United boss David Moyes said his team had every right to approach the game with confidence after last week’s two wins but City instantly put his team on the back foot with an early Edin Dzeko goal, and they carried a much greater threat than the Reds in the opening exchanges. Only a brilliant David De Gea save denied Dzeko a second but United grew into the first half and both Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata went close. But City assumed control again after the break and Dzeko’s second did not come as a huge surprise. United, with Shinji Kagawa and Antonio Valencia now on the pitch for Tom Cleverley and Fellaini respectively, sought to raise their game but never seriously threatened to get back into it, though Joe Hart kept out efforts from Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney. Yaya Toure’s late goal merely confirmed City’s superiority.
The goals After just 45 seconds, Rafael denied David Silva with a last-ditch tackle inside the box but the loose ball was played out left to Samir Nasri, who cut inside and shot against the inside of the post, leaving Dzeko with the simplest of tasks to tap home the rebound. And the Bosnian made it 20 goals for the season when he escaped his marker to volley home Nasri’s corner. Toure added City’s third when he collected the ball just inside the box, made room for himself and drilled a low shot past De Gea.
Star man Rooney, a constant menace as a lone centre-forward, ran his socks off and did not deserve to be on the losing side.
Sub-plot Aside from all the emotion and local pride at stake in the derby, there was plenty else for both teams to play for in this game, with United hunting a European place and City very much in the title race. But it was the Blues who came out on top to complete a league double over their crosstown rivals, following September’s 4-1 win at the City of Manchester Stadium.
The opposition City manager Manuel Pellegrini surprised some by leaving 23-goal Alvaro Negredo on the bench but the Blues still boasted plenty of potency in attack with Dzeko, Silva and Nasri, while Fernandinho and Toure impressed in midfield. Six points behind leaders Chelsea with three games in hand, City came to Old Trafford to win and, despite United’s efforts, they did just that.
Move of the match A slick first-half counter-attack involving Welbeck and Rooney culminated in Mata being played in on the left of the box, but the Spaniard’s dangerous low cross was cut out by Vincent Kompany.
In the stands The atmosphere was everything you’d expect from a derby – noisy and intense, with both sets of fans trading chants from well before kick-off and throughout the game. The away end was giddy after the early opener but it only amplified the support of United’s fans, whose vociferous support for the Reds never wavered. Dzeko’s second had City’s fans singing ‘Ole!’ every time they touched the ball and it was they who came away with the bragging rights.