Vincent Kompany’s header in first-half stoppage time proved the difference in one of Manchester’s biggest derbies, as Manchester City stand on the brink of a first title in 44 years after their 1-0 win over Manchester United.
The Red Devils have dominated in the Premier League era, but it’s now their ‘noisy neighbours’ who have the advantage on goal difference after a tight affair at the Etihad Stadium.
But it was a slow start from the Citizens, who had to soak up early pressure from United. Joe Hart’s poor punch was a sign of the troubles, but things quickly turned around as the half went on.
Roberto Mancini’s side visibly grew into the match, and had a decent chance after Wayne Rooney’s poor clearance eventually dropped to Sergio Aguero, but the Argentine fired high and wide.
In a game of few chances, Kompany made no mistake in injury-time at the end of the first period, losing Chris Smalling from David Silva’s corner and heading past the helpless David de Gea.
It gave the hosts the advantage at the interval, and United were simply unable to claw that gap back, failing to test Joe Hart seriously at any stage in the contest.
Sir Alex Ferguson tried to shuffle his pack in the second period, introducing Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young at different stages, but with only one shot on target over the 90 minutes, the visitors can have little to complain about post-match.
And their were fireworks in the dugout after a foul from another substitute, Nigel De Jong, clattered Welbeck, with Mancini and Ferguson set to go face-to-face before the fourth official stepped in.
Late on, it was City who had the chances to win it, but Yaya Toure fired wide, Gael Clichy's shot was saved by De Gea and then Samir Nasri failed to shoot from close range after beating two defenders.
With five minutes of injury-time, City fans feared the worst as United looked for a classic late strike, but it was not to be as Smalling fouled Hart from a corner, and his clearance led to the full-time whistle on a night to remember for the Blues.
Level on 83 points but with an eight-goal advantage, City now travel to Newcastle on Sunday knowing two wins will see them claim the championship, whilst Ferguson will be hoping Alan Pardew can do his side a favour ahead of their clash with Swansea.
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