[Premier League] Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United
ManCity: Sergio Aguero (16, 47), Yaya Toure (45), Samir Nasri (50)
ManUtd: Wayne Rooney (87)
A powerful display from Manchester City condemned Manchester United to a 4-1 defeat in a chastening local derby for the Barclays Premier League champions.
Sergio Aguero’s superb opener put the hosts in the ascendancy after 16 minutes, and Yaya Toure’s close-range goal in first-half injury-time left the Reds - shorn of the injured Robin van Persie - struggling to retain a foothold in the game.
That perilous position was compounded by a disastrous opening to the second half, as City struck twice in five minutes, again with slack marking playing a part in United’s demise as Aguero and Samir Nasri were given time and space to beat the exposed De Gea.
Pride smarting and with City increasingly inclined to sit back on their advantage and look to strike on the counter-attack, United showed greater purpose thereafter and began creating chances.
However, City’s defence was as obdurate as its midfield and attacking counterparts were incisive, and the Reds' only consolation came when Wayne Rooney curled home a magnificent 87th-minute free-kick.
David Moyes’ side had been condemned to a second defeat of the season long before that point, though, and now must quickly switch their sights to Wednesday’s Capital One Cup clash with Liverpool.
Beyond that, next Saturday brings the league visit of West Bromwich Albion to Old Trafford, and a chance for the champions to emerge positively from a taxing start to the defence of their title.
The match One to forget. Quickly. Sergio Aguero’s opening goal was a marvellous finish which lifted the home side, but it was Yaya Toure's close range conversion on the stroke of half-time which did for United. A devastating opening to the second period yielded close-range volleys for the unmarked Aguero and Samir Nasri, before United were stung into life. Wayne Rooney fired over from close range, Marouane Fellaini brought a fine save from Joe Hart and Patrice Evra headed against the post, before Rooney finally beat Hart with a superb late free-kick. Sadly, it was too little, too late.
Goals It will be lost amid a chastening afternoon, but Rooney’s 25-yard free-kick compares favourably with any of his previous set-pieces for the club.
Subplot The absence of the injured Robin van Persie provided a glimpse of life without United’s top scorer, but that's not to provide an excuse as City’s display was clinical.
Star men There was a marked improvement in United’s all-round display after conceding the fourth goal, but Wayne Rooney gave a sustained display of the battling spirit required by the fixture, and his fine free-kick – which made him the highest goalscorer in Manchester derby history – perhaps salvaged the merest sliver of consolation from the afternoon.
Opposition City were impressive from the off, and used Aguero’s opening goal as a launchpad for a dominant display brimming with confidence and desire. United were unable to match the hosts’ sharpness and desire until it was too late.
Move of the match Shortly after Nasri’s strike, a low cross from Chris Smalling was neatly dummied by Welbeck, only for Rooney to scoop his finish over the bar from 12 yards.
In the stands The home support were in understandably fine fettle all afternoon as their side ran riot in the Manchester sunshine. However, the travelling contingent were sparked into life by City’s fourth goal and belted out lasting renditions of ‘We’ll never die’.