FA Premier League
Monday 8 April 2013, 20.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Nastasic, Clichy, Barry, Y Toure, Milner, Silva (Lescott 90), Nasri (Aguero 71), Tevez (Garcia 90)
Unused: Pantilimon, Kolarov, K Toure, Dzeko
Goals: Milner (51), Aguero (79)
Booked: Silva, Kompany, Tevez, Barry, Zabaleta
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry
It started with a frantic pace: United got the first shot in at goal, with Hart swallowing up Welbeck’s flicked header, before Silva had an effort at the front post blocked behind. From that corner, the United clearance gave the hosts a two-on-one break, with Clichy pulling out a brilliant tackle to win back possession. Milner’s low drive was then palmed away by De Gea, as a blistering opening five minutes came to a close.
With 15 minutes played, it had been good pressure from City but they hadn’t been able to test De Gea. A deep cross from Zabaleta almost found Tevez, but he couldn’t get a header on target, before some good work from Barry skipping away from two challenges allowed him to find Tevez in the box. The Argentine, though, couldn’t turn and get a clean shot at goal, it deflecting behind off Ferdinand.
A deep cross from Kompany as he brought the ball forward found Silva, who had peeled away at the back post. The Spaniard hit a low, first-time volleyed cross towards Tevez who was sliding in, but Jones was there first to clear. At the other end, van Persie’s deflected cross fell nicely for Giggs to head, but he got underneath it and cleared the crossbar.
With 25 minutes on the clock, City should have had the opening goal. Silva’s cross towards the back post was blocked and fell perfectly for Nasri in the penalty area. The Frenchman had time and space, but he failed to hit the target with his effort, leaving De Gea rooted to the spot. Fortunately for him, though, the shot was wide.
On the half hour, United responded with their own pressure. Van Persie curled a free kick towards the back post and, after it missed the first challenge, Zabaleta had to sort his feet out quickly to scoop it behind for a corner. Kompany cleared that, with Young collecting the loose ball. His effort, though, was well over the bar.
With three minutes of the half to play, Kompany dived in on Young and picked up a booking for his troubles, but the Rooney free kick was dealt with by Nastasic. It fell to van Persie, but he skied his volley well over the bar. A flick on by van Persie on the stroke of half time fell to Rafael in on goal and his effort had Hart scrambling as it hit the outside of the post. It remained all square at the break.
United began the second half the better: Welbeck wanted a penalty when he ran into Barry inside the box, but there was nowhere the England midfielder could go to get out of the way and the referee turned the appeals down. At the other end, Silva couldn’t dig out a shot as he intercepted a short ball on the edge of the box.
Just over five minutes into the half, Giggs gave the ball away inside his own half and Barry broke away with the ball. As he approached the edge of the box, he cut it back for Nasri, who got the ball stuck under his feet. He did enough, though, to nudge it to Milner, whose first-time effort deflected and found the bottom corner past De Gea’s despairing dive.
The lead, though, didn’t last long. Six minutes later, a dubious free kick from the right flank was nodded back across goal by Jones. It hit Kompany on the back and bounced into the empty net, as Hart had come for the original cross and not been able to get there. There was little City could have done.
A short backpass from Clichy almost let Young in, but Hart was off his line quickly to hoof the ball away. It was more up than out, though, and it found its way to Rooney ins space on the right. He looked for the free van Persie at the back post, but it landed nicely for Hart to collect. Welbeck then flicked a header at goal, but Hart was across his goal well to hold.
Despite the United pressure building, City held their own. And, having survived it, they went down the other end and scored again: Aguero was brilliantly played through into the box and had nothing in front of him. He took it past three defenders and smashed it into the roof of the net at the near post.
With eight minutes to play, it should have been all even again. Barry let Carrick go inside the box and he squared for van Persie sliding in. However, the Dutch striker got his studs on the ball and couldn’t re-direct it towards Hart’s goal. He then followed that up with a free header two minutes later, but it was right at the City keeper.
There was more controversy in the final minute before added time: Silva was doing injured and United played on. City put the ball out, but the reds neglected to give the ball, choosing instead to take the opportunity to have another attempt at goal. But City held firm and got the ball away through Zabaleta.
It won’t do anything to the title race, but City held their own and won the derby.