Manchester United 2 Manchester City 1: Wayne Rooney stunner seals derby glory

13 February 2011 12:59
It was, of course, a truly extraordinary moment and it came in a thoroughly entertaining game.

For decades, people will recall the fact that they were at the match where Wayne Rooney scored that goal.

As the years roll by, however, fewwill go on to add that the player, undoubtedly great at his best, washaving a miserable afternoon; that he mis-controlled the ball woefullyin the build-up; that the team in which he played was some way short ofthe standards we had come to expect from Manchester United.

Goal of the season: Wayne Rooney shapes to score the overhead kick that earned Manchester United victory against local rivals City

In the understandable euphoria ofwitnessing one of football's great moments, the excitement of onceagain silencing their noisy neighbours and the anticipation of takinganother big step towards a record 19th League title, some perspectivewas inevitably lost.

But at times yesterday, Ryan Giggsand Paul Scholes gave the ball away in a manner which defied theirreputation, lone striker Rooney looked lost and needed a first-halftalking to from referee Andre Marriner to control his frustration,while Dimitar Berbatov's performance last Saturday meant he was noteven deemed worthy of a start.

Indeed, the soulless state of modernfootball was perhaps never better illustrated in the fact that?57million worth of striking talent, in Berbatov and Edin Dzeko, satsullenly on the bench, not required for one of the season's greatfixtures.So much for the glory game.

I'm the man: Rooney celebrates his winner in front of the Manchester City fans

As it happened, the match exceededthose negative expectations and by the end, both sides had effectivelyreverted to 4-2-4 formations in a bid to win.

And yet, still, the quality was not what it should be.

Although Sir Alex Ferguson insistedlater that 'from 15 minutes on I thought we played fantastic football'- this in a first half in which City were well on top until theyinexplicably capitulated defensively - the United manager did at leastacknowledge there are significant issues with this team.

Fluke: David Silva (second right) knows nothing City's equaliser about it as Edin Dzeko's miscued shot ricochets off his back and flies into the net

He described their performance indefeat at Wolves last week as 'pathetic' with Rafael, Michael Carrickand Berbatov all paying the price, as Jonny Evans surely would havedone had he not been injured.

'I had to sit Berbatov down and tell him he wasn't playing and I didn't enjoy it,' said Ferguson.

'I said he would play his part andhe did, but we had to look at the number of players they put inmidfield, it's very difficult to play against.

'I have to say that what I need toget into Wayne and Berbatov is that their performances away from homehave not been as good as they have been at home. That's a quandary forme because the ability that those two have, they really should bedictating games away from home for us. If they do, that will make ahell of a difference.'

1-0: Nani holds off Pablo Zabaleta to slot the opening goal past Joe Hart

Roberto Mancini, predictably, saw the game differently, given that David Silva should have put his side ahead in the third minute from an angle, a chance which came after an exquisite passage of passing.

Yaya Toure headed across the face of goal in the 15th minute and Silva went close in the 56th, forcing a smart save from Edwin van der Sar after taking out three players with one touch.

'I didn't think we deserved to lose,' lamented the City manager.

'I'm proud of my players and they played well. It is incredible. It is like when I was at Inter and for the first two years, against AC Milan, we played well and never won. Then it changed. I think they (United) have a strong mentality. They didn't deserve to win but they believe they will. I think that will change for us when we win a title.'

Not this season, however.

'It is very difficult,' he conceded, eight points behind now having played one game more.

Ferguson was right that United improved after 15 minutes but City were still the better side for long periods, even if the excellent Chris Smalling was keeping the much-berated Carlos Tevez quiet.

Then Giggs, despite his waywardness, had two exceptional moments.

He lifted a free-kick on to Darren Fletcher's head in the 34th minute, forcing Joe Hart to save. And in the 41st minute, a hopeful punt from Van der Sar was defended dreadfully by Joleon Lescott, who merely flicked the ball on to Giggs. His quick ball was beautifully controlled by Nani, who outran Pablo Zabaleta and finished magnificently.

'It will be completely forgotten but the way he controlled it, beat the defender and rolled it into the net, it was a fantastic goal,' said Ferguson.

Nani is one of the few United players who cannot be faulted this season.

Shaun Wright-Phillips' introduction in the 53rd minute posed United a fresh problem and from a Micah Richards burst down the right and a Wright-Phillips cross 10 minutes later, City found a fortuitous equaliser.

Dzeko, brought on only on the hour because Mancini claimed he needs to improve and adjust to English football, snatched at the cross and it bounced off Silva and past Van der Sar. City were reinvigorated.

'It gave them impetus,' said Ferguson, who brought on Berbatov. Still, United lacked fluidity.

Rooney's touch was awful as they moved forward in the 78th minute but he was lucky in that his mis-hit pass found Scholes, who moved it on to Nani.

From that point on, however, it was an incomparable moment. The cross was good yet the leap, the balance, the strength and the poise of Rooney was something to behold.

'When you see a goal like that,' said Mancini, 'you can only clap.'

The whole world will doubtless join in the applause.

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Source: Daily_Mail

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