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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Manchester United Vs. Manchester City Match Report

United now need just four points from three games to win a third successive league title after the Reds brushed aside Mark Hughes’ men in the Manchester derby on Sunday.

First-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez sealed the points on a day when United’s back four were rarely troubled. The Blues were no match for a United side determined to regain top spot after Liverpool’s win at West Ham on Saturday had sent the Scousers temporarily to the summit.

Now, however, three points clear and with a game in hand, the Reds are favourites to secure an 11th Premier League trophy and could do so at Old Trafford next Saturday should Sir Alex's men beat Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night.

For Sunday's derby battle, the United boss made five changes to the side that beat Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday night. Jonny Evans and Rafael came into the back four for Rio Ferdinand and John O’Shea, while Ryan Giggs slotted into the centre of midfield. Up front, Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov started together for the 11th time in the league this season.

It was Ji-sung Park, however, who had the first chance of the game. The South Korean, who’s scored in United’s last two matches, collected Ronaldo’s knock-down inside the box on three minutes but dragged his shot wide of Shay Given’s post.

The Reds enjoyed a lot of early possession and both Tevez and Ronaldo forced Given into routine saves in the opening 10 minutes. City looked dangerous on occasion too, Robinho proving a handful for young Rafael at right back.

But it was United who went in front and it was that man Ronaldo with yet another free-kick. Against Arsenal in midweek he’d scored from 41 yards; this time it was a mere 28. Slightly left of centre, Ronaldo struck the ball sweetly and it flew past the City wall, bouncing once before nestling in the back of Given’s net.

Carlos Tevez almost added a second just after the half-hour with a brilliant effort that cannoned off the frame of the goal from the corner of the penalty area. The Argentinean, subject to intense pre-match speculation surrounding his future at Old Trafford, worked hard all afternoon and was involved in many of the Reds’ best attacking forays.

Indeed, it was Tevez who provided the final flourish to round off a superb move on the stroke of half-time and send the Reds 2-0 up. Darren Fletcher pumped a long ball forward, which Dimitar Berbatov cushioned with the delicacy of a father cradling his newborn. The Bulgarian then rolled the ball across the edge of the box to Tevez, who took two touches before rifling into the net off the inside of Given’s left-hand post.

The second goal was thoroughly deserved after a half in which United had dominated possession and continually found space in the final third. At the back, too, the Reds had looked solid with Nemanja Vidic marshalling the defence in Rio Ferdinand’s absence. One full-bloodied yet perfectly-timed sliding challenge, in particular, exemplified why the Serbian centre-back is hotly tipped to win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award next weekend.

Neither manager made substitutions at half-time – Sir Alex certainly had no reason to – although City emerged from the break determined to pull a goal back. Robinho was presented with a golden chance to do just that on 50 minutes, but fired over from 10 yards. At the other end, Rafael’s cross-come-shot had Given scrambling momentarily as the ball looped onto the roof of the net.

With an hour gone, Sir Alex withdrew Ji-sung Park and Cristiano Ronaldo, who despite scoring the Reds’ opener had struggled to assert himself on the game. Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney entered the fray, with Rooney taking Park’s place on the right and Giggs shifting onto the opposite wing to make way for Scholes in the centre. There he joined Darren Fletcher, who was superb all day and won countless tackles and loose balls.

City’s search for a goal continued but substitute Martin Petrov’s late strike from distance, which drew a stunning finger-tip save from Edwin van der Sar, was as close as the visitors came.

Manchester United Vs. Manchester City Highlights Video Clip

Manchester United [2 - 0] Manchester City
18' [1 - 0] C. Ronaldo
45' [2 - 0] C.A. Tevez

1-0 C.Ronaldo 18'

2-0 C.Tevez 45'