Match report Courtesy of David Mooney
City: Given, Onuoha, Touré (c), Kompany, Bridge, Barry, de Jong (Ireland 79), A Johnson (Vieira 66), Bellamy, Adebayor (Wright-Phillips 75), Tevez
Unused: Nielsen, Boyata, Santa Cruz, Zabaleta
Booked: Kompany, A Johnson
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Nigel de Jong
It was the visitors that started the game the brighter, with some early pressure culminating in a Fletcher shot from range. Given threw himself at it and couldn’t get it, but it was just wide of the post.
With seven minutes gone, Tevez was felled on the edge of the box by Gibson. The Argentinian picked himself up to take it and it took an excellent catch from Van der Sar to stop the home side taking the lead.
The home fans were nervous on 13 minutes when a Kompany clearance skewed off his left shin and sent Rooney in. The Belgian, though, got back to recover and was able to concede a corner.
Rooney then hacked de Jong down from behind, but wasn’t shown a card, before Van der Sar nearly dropped the ball at Adebayor’s feet as he tried to catch a wicked cross from Johnson.
With 24 minutes gone, Barry caught Gibson with his arm as the two challenged for a header. It was a free kick to United, but the players didn’t think that was enough, surrounding the referee and asking for a card – Typical Englishmen.
Just before the break, Tevez wanted a penalty for a challenge by Vidic in the area, but the referee didn’t agree and awarded City a corner. Touré and Adebayor then combined to send Bellamy through, but the linesman’s flag went up very late for the offside.
Rooney then found some space in the box and pulled the trigger from roughly the penalty spot. It was low and hard and had Given scrambling, but it was wide of the far post.
The first attack of the second half was a breakaway for City and Tevez. Onuoha looked for the little forward over the top of Vidic, but the United defender and his goalkeeper were able to get there first… just.
Bellamy was then lucky not to go into the referee’s notebook for a challenge on Neville on the edge of the City box, as he took a swipe in an attempt to win the ball, but missed it completely.
Kompany then received a yellow card for a foul on Rooney – after the forward had rolled over a few times, though, he was able to jump back up to his feet when the card had been produced. Johnson then picked up a yellow card for his first foul of the day, an innocuous looking challenge with Valencia.
Just before the hour mark, Bellamy elected to shoot from wide on the left as City broke, though the pass to Tevez was on and the former-United man was in a much better position to score. Valencia then put in a good cross for the visitors, but Giggs’s connection was poor and his volley was high, wide and not very handsome.
With 66 minutes gone, Onuoha was inches away from giving City the lead, as the ball grazed his head from a corner. Given then let an Evra shot go, watching it zip past his post.
Nani should have done better on 70 minutes, as he connected with a Giggs low cross. He had all of the goal to aim at, but he stabbed it well wide of the near post. Barry then wriggled he was free in the United box and went down under a challenge – both the City fans and the City players wanted a penalty, but there was nothing doing again from the referee.
Given then halted a Giggs one-on-one, with the Welshman claiming he was fouled, before De Jong had an effort from range that was, in the end, comfortable for Van der Sar.
In the 81st minute, Berbatov – on for Rooney – nodded a free header past Given’s post when he should have at least found the target, before Neville somehow avoided a yellow card and got his third final warning for another foul on Bellamy.
An almighty goalmouth scramble from a corner could have had City in front. Van der Sar came for the cross and got nowhere near it, leaving Vieira to fire at the goal. Vidic blocked it and Tevez couldn’t turn on it to shoot, before it was scrambled away by Neville.
With a minute to play, Wright-Phillips flashed a shot past Van der Sar’s post, before Bridge fired an effort straight at the big goalkeeper as he found himself free in the box. It looked like if either side was going to score, then it would be City.
But, with two and a half of the three added minutes player, United stole the points. City switched off and left Scholes unmarked in the area and he connected with Nani’s cross, nodding it past a helpless Shay Given. The consolation for City, though, is that Gary Neville could be in trouble from the FA after his celebrations in front of the City fans. Nevertheless, it was more derby day disappointment for the blues and all eyes will turn to Chelsea’s trip to White Hart Lane later in the day.
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