Man Utd 1
1-2 Carrick 92
0-1 Vassell 24, 0-2 Benjani 45
- Match reports
- Sun 10 Feb 2008, 12:00AM
- Posted by Leon Collins
Pre match news
A lively atmosphere finds the City fans in good voice - complete with their tribute banner to Frank Swift. On the pitch, Sven-Goran Eriksson hands a derby debut to Benjani, he will play upfront on his own supported by Stephen Ireland.
With a minute’s silence well observed by both sets of fans the action on the pitch got underway.
Early challenges snapped in – typical of the occasion – but nothing to trouble referee Webb too much.
The hosts produced the first real effort on seven minutes with Giggs’ shot routinely turned over by Hart.
City’s first threat came from a dangerous Ball cross which was flicked away from a well placed Fernandes after 12 minutes.
That was followed less than a minute later as Petrov tried his luck to no avail from distance.
More good build up play from City in the 15th minute as another dangerous ball from the left gave Stephen Ireland the chance to head goalwards. He couldn’t get the right amount of power on it, but it was encouraging to see Benjani following in.
The first dive from Ronaldo was timed at 17 minutes as Hamann got close in the penalty area – the referee rightly waving away any penalty claims from the home fans.
Fernandes and Vassell combined well down the right after 20 minutes, and with Benjani poised to head home a debut goal, a United head just managed to flick the ball away.
On 24 minutes the City pressure paid off as Darius Vassell sent the fans into raptures with his 50th Premier League goal to put the Blues in front.
Another lovely bit of build up play saw the Blues break and Martin Petrov slid a beautiful ball in behind for Stephen Ireland. His touch came off van der Sar and fell to Vassell, his first shot was blocked by the keeper, but there was no stopping his second from eight yards out. One nil City!
Within two minutes the home team came close to pulling level as Tevez turned and shot but a fine stop from Joe Hart kept City in the lead.
City continued to pick off United and Petrov’s low curling ball in gave van der Sar problems which lead to three corners in succession just before the break and a vital second goal for the Blues.
The third corner was only cleared as far as Ireland – he found Petrov and his ball from the right was glanced home by Benjani to stun the majority of the crowd.
It gave the big striker the chance to show he “likes everyone” as he told us last week with his trademark goal celebration infront of the City fans with 45 minutes on the clock.
HALF TIME: United 0-2 City
No changes at the break with the home team sent out early - possibly after the often spoken of 'hairdryer treatment.'
City were the first to show intent again in the second half as Hamann drilled a shot from long range to sting the palms of the keeper.
Ronaldo wanted something nine minutes into the second half, which nobody else could see, and went on to – as the City fans told him – spit his dummy out in fine fashion. The best thing he did in the first hour of the game.
United had the ball in the net moments later but the flag had long since gone up before Tevez tapped home.
As home frustrations grew, John O’Shea was booked on 57 minutes for a nasty looking foul on Vassell.
Seemingly breaking at will, City could and maybe should, have grabbed a third after Ireland and Benjani lead a two-on-one counter attack, which ultimately came to nothing.
United made their final subs on 73 minutes, Hargreaves and Carrick brought on to break up City's slick passing.
Sven responded by allowing Benjani to be worshipped by the City faithful - "He comes from Zimbabwe..."
He was replaced by another derby debutant - Felipe Caicedo - who immediately bounced off a physical challenge from Vidic as he stood strong.
City continued with their neat passing and frustrated their hosts time and time again - not that the home supporters helped their cause - City fans worthy of every accolade though, sang in support of the memory of Frank Swift as the time ticked away.
With the home fans streaming out, Michael Carrick made some of them stop and turn as he pulled a goal back in the 92nd minute.
Ultimately it was to be in vain and the Blue side took the spoils on the day and secured bragging rights of the city with a fantastic derby double.
mcfc.co.uk’s Man of the Match: Stephen Ireland. Most difficult choice of the season with every player worthy of note – but Ireland’s cool, calm and collected play just edged it.
FULL TIME: United 1-2 City