Man United 2 Man City 1

Wayne Rooney

Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Man­chester City 1, Old Traf­ford, Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue, Feb­ruary 12, 2011. Man­chester Uni­ted ace Way­ne Roo­ney prob­ably sco­red the most spec­tac­u­lar goal of his en­tire pro­fes­sion­al play­ing ca­reer on the twelfth of Feb­ruary 2012; and the trig­ger happy stri­ker could not pos­sibly have picked a bet­ter op­pos­i­tion than Man­chester City.

Pre­mier Lea­gue lead­ers Man­chester Uni­ted were hosts to third pla­ced Man­chester City in the highest pro­file Man­chester Der­by since the sev­en­teenth of Au­gust 1968 when the Cham­pi­ons of Europe and The Cham­pi­ons of Eng­land had played out a goal­less draw in front of a 63,000 crowd at Old Traf­ford. In their last fix­ture, Uni­ted had suc­cumbed to a sur­prise two-one de­feat at the hands of Wolver­hampton Wan­derers at Mo­lineux, whi­le The Sky Blues had trashed West Brom­wich Al­bion three-nil at East­lands thro­ugh a hat-trick from for­mer Old Traf­ford for­ward Car­los Tev­ez. Man­chester Uni­ted had to cope with­out ex­per­i­enced de­fender Rio Fer­dinand who was ruled out wi­th a calf in­jury, whi­le So­uth Korean mid­fielder Ji-Sung Park was back fol­low­ing in­ter­na­tion­al duty in the Asi­an Cup. Micah Richards and Nigel de Jong bo­th re­turned to mat­ch ac­tion for Man­chester City, but Mario Balo­telli, Ad­am John­son, and Mi­chael John­son were all out on the side­lines wi­th vari­ous in­jury prob­lems. As for re­cent form, Uni­ted had a re­cord of four wins and a single loss from their last five mat­ches, where­as The Cit­izens had won two, drawn two and lost one of their pre­vi­ous five games.

The Theatre of Dreams staged a breath­tak­ing pro­duc­tion as Man­chester Uni­ted be­at neigh­bours Man­chester City by two goals to one. Wi­th a per­fect sense of of theatre, Da­vid Silva squan­dered a golden chan­ce in the sec­ond min­ute of the en­counter when he ma­naged to put his ef­fort from wide from a few yards out. As the fir­st ha­lf wore on, things star­ted to boil over and Vin­cent Kom­pany was duly book­ed by An­dre Mar­riner for de­lib­er­ately stamp­ing on Way­ne Rooney´s foot in the nine­teenth min­ute of the clash. Man­chester Uni­ted fi­nally broke the de­fens­ive dead­lock four min­utes ahead of the in­ter­val, how­ever, as Ry­an Gig­gs fou­nd Lu­is Nani who made a de­term­ined run on goal be­fore he steer­ed the ball bey­ond Three Li­ons goal­keeper Joe Hart. The dra­mas of the fir­st ha­lf were not con­fined to the open­ing forty-five min­utes as Ed­in Dzeko power­ed a fe­ro­cious shot which hit Silva and de­flec­ted in­to the back of the net five min­utes pa­st the hour ma­rk. The bois­ter­ous Man­chester City sup­port­ers were ev­entually si­lenced wi­th twelve min­utes left of nor­mal time as a flab­ber­gast­ing goal from Roo­ney put Man­chester Uni­ted in­to a fully de­served 2-1 lead. A de­flec­ted cross dropped to the in­form marks­man just in­side the pen­alty area and his spec­tac­u­lar bi­cycle-kick sent the ball pa­st Hart and in­to the top right-hand cor­ner of the net. The now des­per­ate Man­chester City play­ers fou­ght hard to try and get back in­to the mat­ch, but the rock sol­id Man­chester Uni­ted de­fence ma­naged to hold the Pre­mier Lea­gue up­starts at bay for the rest of the ga­me. Sir Al­ex Fer­guson, pro­du­cer and sta­ge de­sign­er, had done his work well.

At the fol­low­ing press con­fer­ence, Fer­guson was full of praise for born ag­ain goal scor­er Way­ne Roo­ney who­se bril­liant over­head-kick had giv­en Man­chester Uni­ted a win which mo­ved The Reds eight points clear of Man­chester City. The Man­chester Uni­ted boss had giv­en the frus­trated and troubled Roo­ney an enorm­ous amount of pro­tec­tion and sup­port dur­ing the fir­st part of the 2010-11 sea­son, al­low­ing the twenty-five-year-old at­tack­er plenty of time and space to sort out his much-pub­li­cised prob­lems bo­th on and off the foot­ball field. Be­ing a shrewd read­er of hu­man char­ac­ter, Sir Al­ex had be­come widely known for get­ting the best out of his play­ers, but the for­mer tool­maker had nev­er be­en afraid of ma­king tough man­agement de­cisions to axe his men as long as it was in the best in­terests of Man­chester Uni­ted. It some­times seemed, tho­ugh, that Fer­guson and Roo­ney had be­en simply made for each oth­er. Or to use oth­er words: No nut with­out a crack­er, no crack­er with­out a nut. Sir Al­ex Fer­guson: “I can­not ever re­mem­ber a bet­ter goal at Old Traf­ford. There was a Way­ne Roo­ney vol­ley ag­ainst New­castle Uni­ted I re­mem­ber a few years ago wi­th that kind of fe­ro­city and we have had some fant­ast­ic goals here.” Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Ed­win van der Sar, John O’Shea, Chris Small­ing, Ne­manja Vid­ic, Pat­rice Ev­ra, An­der­son, Dar­ren Fletch­er, Ry­an Gig­gs, Way­ne Roo­ney, Nani, Paul Scho­les. Sub­stitutes: Ra­fael, Wes­ley Bro­wn, Mi­chael Car­rick, Di­m­it­ar Ber­batov, Javi­er Her­nandez, Mi­chael Owen, An­ders Linde­gaard. Man­chester City Te­am: Joe Hart, Alek­sandar Kolarov, Micah Richards, Pablo Za­baleta, Jo­leon Le­scott, Vin­cent Kom­pany, Gar­eth Bar­ry, Ja­mes Mil­ner, Da­vid Silva, Yaya Tou­re, Car­los Tev­ez. Sub­stitutes: Jo, Ed­in Dzeko, Kolo Tou­re, Jerome Boa­teng, Patrick Vie­ira, Shaun Wright-Phil­lips, Shay Given.


Manchester United Quickfacts

Man­chester Uni­ted de­feated Man­chester City 5-1 in front of a 61,000 crowd at Old Traf­ford on the 31st of Dec­ember 1960 thanks to a hat-trick by Al­ex Dawson and a brace from Bob­by Charlton.


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