Manchester City continued their recent derby dominance with a 1-0 Barclays Premier League win over 10-man Manchester United on Sunday.
Aided by Chris Smalling's sending-off during a goalless opening period at the Etihad Stadium, Manuel Pellegrini's men took control after the interval as Sergio Aguero grabbed the decisive goal. The Argentina striker's effort, his 10th in the BPL this season, condemned United to a fourth successive league defeat by their rivals for the first time since 1970 and ensured Louis van Gaal was beaten in his maiden all-Manchester clash.
Anticipation was high as City attempted to end a three-match winless run in all competitions and their hopes were raised towards the end of a breathless first half, with Smalling given his marching orders after picking up two yellow cards. That, combined with fellow centre-back Marcos Rojo being carried off through injury in the 56th minute, proved decisive as the hosts took the points. City, without David Silva, were dealt another blow when Aleksandar Kolarov limped off in the warm-up, with Gael Clichy coming into the XI. United had their own full-back issues after Rafael da Silva picked up a knock in training to leave Antonio Valencia in the role.
Valencia was immediately tested, beaten by Aguero, who forced a first save from David de Gea. But United responded quickly, Adnan Januzaj volleying just wide after being teed up by Robin van Persie's cushioned header.
The visitors continued to look threatening, with Angel di Maria and Wayne Rooney, who was back from suspension, threatening in dangerous areas. Yet the match then took on an end-to-end nature, with De Gea making world-class saves to deny Jesus Navas and Aguero in quick succession.
A decisive moment came in the 38th minute when Smalling, who had picked up a yellow card for impeding Joe Hart as the City goalkeeper attempted to punt downfield, flew into a challenge on James Milner that merited a second caution.
The first-half drama did not stop there, with City twice having penalty appeals turned down following challenges from Marouane Fellaini and Rojo.
City were positive at the start of the second period, epitomised by Pablo Zabaleta finding himself in the United box to volley over. Van Gaal's woes were added to as a shoulder injury forced Rojo off on a stretcher, leaving United to field a makeshift back four featuring Valencia, Michael Carrick and youngster Paddy McNair.
Soon after their claims for another penalty were denied, Aguero gave City a 63rd-minute lead by sidefooting home Clichy's pull-back after Yaya Toure had freed the left-back.
Navas rattled the outside of the post, while at the other end Di Maria was denied by Hart after a stunning burst from Rooney. Fellaini twice went close from set-pieces and Toure missed two golden chances, curling wide and heading over.
City, who remain third in the table, held on to claim the points and leave United just inside the top 10, seven points behind their neighbours.
|13 Dec 2014||v Leicester (A)|
|08 Nov 2014||v QPR (A)|
|20 Dec 2014||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|30 Nov 2014||v Southampton (A)|
|22 Nov 2014||v Swansea (H)|
|06 Dec 2014||v Everton (H)|