Man United 1 Man City 2
Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2, Old Trafford, English Premier League, April 8, 2013. Premier League table toppers Manchester United suffered a closely contested 2-1 defeat at the hands of Roberto Mancini´s Manchester City. After losing to City, United were now twelve points in front of their crosstown rivals with seven games left to be played.
Manchester United played host to second placed Manchester City at Old Trafford on the 8th of April 2013 in what promised to be a cracker of a derby match. And for those who cared to remember, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men had suffered a painful 6-1 defeat at home to The Light Blues in the corresponding fixture of the 2011-12 season. The Manchester United injury list was slowly bur surely getting shorter and Wayne Rooney returned for the highly anticipated encounter with Manchester City after a two-match absence, but key central defenders Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic were still sidelined with injuries. The Eastlands club, for their part, had to make do without the services of defensive minded midfield player Jack Rodwell because of a persistent hamstring injury. United had edged out Sunderland by 1-0 at The Stadium of Light in their previous Premier League game thanks to an own goal from unfortunate England U21 international defender Titus Bramble, while City had trashed Newcastle United by 4-0 at Etihad Stadium. The last time Manchester City and Manchester United had locked horns in the Premier League, the red shirts had managed to beat their Manchester counterparts by 3-2 at Eastlands on the 9th of December 2012 courtesy of a brace by Rooney and a goal from Robin van Persie. As for the historical record, there had been 165 meetings between City and United, with the Old Trafford club ahead with 69 victories against The Citizens´s 45. For Manchester City, the away clash with The Manchester Reds was a must win game as they looked to keep their dreams of back-to-back titles alive. But there was nonetheless little doubt that United held the key to the Premier League title.
The 166th Manchester Derby started on a lively note with both Manchester United and Manchester City willing to attack. But despite plenty of decent opportunities during the first period, neither team failed to score before the half-time whistle went. City took the lead a mere six minutes into the second period, however, when French international Samir Nasri found Three Lions midfielder James Milner who rifled a ferocious and well placed twenty-yard shot past United custodian David de Gea to make the score 1-0 in favour of The Sky Blues. Only eight minutes later, though, Manchester United equalised as Robin van Persie crossed the ball perfectly for versatile defender Phil Jones whose powerful header went into the back of the net via Manchester City and Belgium stopper Vincent Kompany. But it was City who scored the winning goal through Samir Nasri replacement Sergio Aguero who made the United defenders look like school boys before the tricky-footed forward powered a stunning effort into the right top corner in the 78th minute of the battle. Manchester United had plenty of chances to even the score in the closing stages, but the Eastlands side managed to keep the hosts at bay. After losing by the narrowest of margins to second placed Manchester City, Premier League leaders Manchester United had their lead cut to twelve points. But despite of the 2-1 defeat, United could clinch their 20th Championship title if they managed to collect only ten points from their remaining seven games of the season. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Rafael da Silva, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Robin van Persie. Substitutes: Antonio Valencia, Shinji Kagawa, Alexander Buttner, Tom Cleverley, Javier Hernandez, Luis Nani, Anders Lindegaard. Manchester City Team: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Gael Clichy, Yaya Toure, James Milner, Gareth Barry, David Silva, Samir Nasri, Carlos Tevez. Substitutes: Sergio Aguero, Joleon Lescott, Javier Garcia, Costel Pantilimon, Aleksander Kolarov, Kolo Habib Toure, Edin Dzeko.