Saturday, February 12, 2011

Premier League - Rooney magic wins Manchester derby!!!

Wayne Rooney's stunning overhead kick sealed a 2-1 derby victory for Premier League leaders Manchester United over Manchester City at Old Trafford!!!

Nani opened the scoring in the run-up to the end of an even first half, in which City showed more attacking intent than any point during the drab goalless reverse fixture at Eastlands back in November.
David Silva drew the visitors level on 65 minutes with a fortunate deflected goal he knew little about, but it was no less than City deserved.
However, with 12 minutes of the match remaining Rooney produced a magical winner to send United eight points above their title-chasing local rivals.
Rooney's recent progress back towards his blistering form of a year ago has been slow and uneven since the turn of the year, but this acrobatic moment of pure genius cannot help but raise hopes that he will rediscover his glorious best sooner rather than later.
Both sides were unable to field entirely first-choice line-ups. Chris Smalling made his first appearance in a Manchester derby in defence with Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans both unavailable, while Alex Ferguson again elected to drop league top scorer Dimitar Berbatov to the bench for a big game.
Roberto Mancini also named his own big-money striker, Edin Dzeko, as a substitute and moved full-back Aleksandar Kolarov up the pitch to bolster a midfield missing the injured Nigel de Jong.
Although United began in confident fashion, City had plenty of moments, mainly orchestrated by Silva. The diminutive Spaniard should have had City ahead after four minutes when Carlos Tevez slipped a cute through ball into his path inside the box, but he fired wide of the far post from an angle.
United's own instrumental Iberian, Nani, looked determined to grab his first derby goal, fizzing strikes over the bar and firing right at keeper Joe Hart from range throughout the half.
Ryan Giggs, playing in his 34th derby for United, was equally influential for the home side, bending in an inviting cross which Darren Fletcher could only head down at Hart's feet.
The veteran winger's precision came to the fore for the opening goal which allowed Nani to cap off a classic Route One goal on 41 minutes. Edwin van der Sar's long boot up the pitch was flicked on by Rooney, who had been for the most part shackled by Vincent Kompany. The header fell to Giggs, who clipped the ball through for Nani to meet and finish his surge into the box with a clinical low shot past Hart.
Mancini had stated before the match that he was aiming to win, and he made positive switches after the break, firstly introducing Shaun Wright-Phillips for Kolarov before Dzeko made his arrival on the hour-mark.
As Kompany continued to frustrate Rooney at one end, including one exceptional sliding block after Fletcher had played an inviting ball into the box for the England man to hit on the turn, Dzeko had a hand in the equaliser at the other.
Technically it could go down as an assist for Silva's goal, although it was nothing of the sort. The Bosnia striker miscued his shot from Wright-Phillips's low cross after a good move down the left initiated by Tevez, and the effort rebounded off Silva and into the net before anyone, including Van der Sar, knew what had happened.
The goal made the final quart of the game an open, end-to-end encounter, although clear chances were at a premium. That was until the 78th minute, when Nani's speculative cross from the right was met by Rooney leaping into the air and firing his crisply struck bicycle kick right into the top corner. Any strike that beats this one to be goal of the season will be a very special strike indeed.
From then on, City never looked like pulling themselves back on terms for a second time, and United did what they have done countless times before at Old Trafford by frustrating their increasingly frantic opponents and securing a victory which takes them one step closer to the title.

Tony Mabert / Eurosport

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