- Man United 1-2 Man City, Premier League
Aguero magic hands City derby victory at United
Sergio Aguero announced himself to the derby in devastating fashion by scoring a fine solo goal to give Manchester City a 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Argentine began the encounter on the bench, but when thrown on by City boss Roberto Mancini in the second half, he proved to be the match-winner for the Premier League champions as City kept their slim title hopes alive by reducing the gap to 12 points at the top of the table.
James Milner had given City the lead seven minutes into the second half following a mistake from Ryan Giggs. However, United instantly replied when Phil Jones' header was put through his own net by Vincent Kompany.
Aguero would stamp his mark on the contest towards the end, dodging several challenges and showing a great burst of speed to beat David De Gea with a sublime finish into the roof of the net to settle the derby and hand City a second consecutive victory at Old Trafford - following up the 6-1 demolition in 2011.
A win for United would have seen the Red Devils increase their advantage to 18 points, putting them within four points of securing a 20th league title. While City have reduced the deficit, their task of overturning the gap is a difficult one as it seems they are only delaying the inevitable for United with seven games remaining.
It was City who made the better start to the encounter, with Milner testing out De Gea from a teasing cross and ex-United striker Carlos Tevez almost getting onto the end of a couple of half opportunities, linking up well with David Silva.
United in the early stages sat back, but when they moved forward, Sir Alex Ferguson's men wasted their best chance. Danny Welbeck with plenty of green grass to run into failed to pick out an unmarked Wayne Rooney on the right, choosing instead to attempt to muscle his way through the City defence when the better option was to find the England striker.
The Old Trafford faithful were doing all they could to encourage United, but City were in control, and Samir Nasri came close to putting the visitors in front when picking up a loose ball on the edge of the box. The Frenchman though could not hit the target from a decent position.
City bossed possession as United were unable to get a foothold in the game, and the opening half was constantly disrupted by the whistle of referee Mike Dean, with Rooney and Kompany collecting yellow cards following late challenges. United's best moment came towards the end of the half as Rafael struck the woodwork after getting onto the end of Robin van Persie's knock-on.
The pattern of the first half continued in the second, and this time City punished United by breaking the deadlock, but it was a goal which could have been avoided for the home side. Giggs' backheel was intercepted by Gareth Barry, and driving to the United penalty area the ball eventually fell to Milner, who via a deflection drilled his shot beyond De Gea.
It was a lead City's play merited, but United were not behind for long as they immediately hit back. Van Persie whipped in a dangerous free-kick, and Jones got his head onto it, with Kompany finishing off the move by putting through his own net to hand United the equaliser.
Aguero was a surprise omission from the City starting line-up, but how he made up for lost time as he silenced the home crowd with a moment of individual brilliance. Starting off from just outside the United area, Aguero evaded a couple of challenges before superbly finishing off his run by firing his shot high into De Gea's net.