A special strike from a special player was enough for United to take the honours in the Manchester derby.
But this wasn`t just any old Manchester derby was it! There was far too much at stake for it to be simply that. For once both clubs, prior to this fixture, had the chance of staking a major claim for the Premier League title, now those hopes, for City, are pie in the sky as that banner on the Stretford End start to click around to 35 years.
Oh, how I enjoyed yesterday!
Sir Alex Ferguson, in his team selection, pulled off a shock by dropping our leading scorer, Dimitar Berbatov, to the bench and going with Wayne Rooney as an out and out front-man whilst Paul Scholes was given a start after missing out recently.
United made a slow start to the game, looking out of sorts for the first quarter of an hour, in that period they could easily have found themselves a goal down when a smart City move opened up our static defence only for Silva to place his shot just inches wide of the far post with Van der Sar rooted to the spot.
Slowly though United started to get on top and Hart, in the City goal was the busiest of the two keepers, now either his positional sense was top-notch or our strikers were too lax with their shooting as most of the shots unleashed on his goal were straight into his mid-riff.
But, just as you thought it`d be 0-0 going into the break, United took the lead and what a marvellous goal it was. Rooney bustled and when the ball fell to Giggs, the Welshman clipped a great pass for Nani, the Portuguese player brought the ball down in an instant and drove a perfect shot past Hart, for Old Trafford to erupt.
After the break City came back into the match but without looking too decisive and perhaps their equalising goal fell into that same category. Roberto Mancini had introduced two substitutions and it was Wright-Phillips, one of them, who played a ball towards Edin Dzeko, the other, only for the expensive acquisition to skew his effort but watch it fall to Silva who tucked it away.
It looked from that moment on that the spoils would be shared but with a little over ten minutes left, Old Trafford erupted. Nani`s cross took a slight deflection but, somehow Rooney produced an acrobatic overhead kick to volley the ball past Hart in the City goal, a special goal to win a special match!
Title number 19 looks like ours to chuck away – no!
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