1-0 (Geovanni 31)
Man Utd 0
- Match reports
- Sun 19 Aug 2007, 12:00AM
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
Pre Match news
City made two changes to the team that started their first two games - Stephen Ireland reported ill, so Geovanni played. The Brazilian scored a memorable goal against United for Benfica to help knock the Reds out of Europe a few years ago. Valeri Bojinov was given the nod over Rolando Bianchi, who was on the bench alongside Michael Ball, back from the suspension picked up from the corresponding fixture last season.
For United, Owen Hargreaves made his full debut as replacement for the suspended Ronaldo.
Despite the ‘typical’ Manchester weather around, there was a real sense of anticipation around the ground before kick off. City received a standing ovation for coming in from their pre-match warm-up! Blues fans had brought along thousands of the scarves given away before May’s derby, and held aloft they were a fantastic sight in the seconds leading up to kick-off.
The first real action of the day came after five minutes when Nani found himself in space inside City’s box. The summer signing tried to stab the ball across Schmeichel but the young keeper made a smart save, and he was in exactly the right place to save the summer signing’s follow up header.
Valeri Bojinov’s City debut ended all too early when he was carried off after six minutes. The Bulgarian striker landed awkwardly when challenging for a header by the touchline, and Emile Mpenza replaced him.
Schmeichel did well again on 16 minutes, diving low to his right to get behind a fierce left-footed effort from Nani.
Patrice Evra broke into the City area on 24 minutes, latching on to a back-heel from Nani, but the full back’s shot went a long way wide after both Schmeichel and Corluka pressurised him.
Michael Johnson tried his luck from long range on the half hour, but his shot flew well over Van Der Sar’s bar.
But a minute later City took the lead, and it was the Blues’ Brazilian connection that raised the roof. Elano’s deft side-footed pass found Geovanni in space, and the little midfielder took his time before unleashing a right-footed shot from 25 yards out that flew in just inside the post having taken a deflection off Vidic. It was his second goal for City, and the second of his career against United, a diving header for Benfica having helped put them out of the Champions League a couple of years ago.
Five minutes later the home fans were cheering a spell where the visitors could not get the ball off the Blues, shouts of ‘olé’ in the style made famous by Leeds in the 1970s ringing out.
But a nervy moment came on 37 minutes, the ball coming out from underneath Schmeichel but with Scholes bearing down, Micah Richards nipped in to clear at the last moment.
Nani went close with a shot from outside the area a minute before the break, the ball bouncing in front of Schmeichel and going a yard wide.
United nearly levelled two minutes into the second half when Vidic crashed a header from a Giggs corner onto the crossbar.
Micah Richards was on hand again to keep the score at 1-0 on 54 minutes, his last minute lunge inside the six yard box denying Tevez the chance to equalize.
Scholes wasted a good chance on the hour, firing over from inside the area, and seconds later Tevez’s slight touch to a Giggs cross went inches wide, substitute Chris Eagles just short of knocking it in.
Great work from Richard Dunne denied Eagles on 71 minutes after he raced into the area, Kasper Schmeichel blocking the shot after his skipper had harassed the United man.
It had been a superb defensive effort from the Blues since half time, but Corluka nearly doubled the lead with 12 minutes left. The Croatian lashed a shot from over 35 yards out that tore just over Van Der Sar’s bar, a similar effort to Danny Mills’ goal against Everton two years ago.
Micah Richards, having a terrific game, cleared the danger once more on 83 minutes, leaping and back-heading a cross from a free kick a long way out of his area.
With two minutes to go Richard Dunne got a nasty cut over the eye but after treatment the skipper was back on the filed.
On the stroke of full time Giggs swung a corner over that eluded everybody and from a yard out Tevez put his diving header wide to the astonishment of the whole ground.
Van Der Sar was up for another corner but was racing back when Petrov shot from within his own half, but the Bulgarian did not catch it right and the Dutchman saved easily.
Four minutes were added on, and when Mark Clattenburg blew for full time the stadium exploded with noise. City were also top of the league with three wins out of three, and would stay there if Chelsea failed to beat Liverpool by two goals or more.
mcfc.co.uk's Man of the Match: Micah Richards - an immense game from the teenager, with several last ditch clearances helping the Blues keep their noses in front.