Man United 2 Man City 1
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.