English Premier League
Sunday 23 October 2011, 13.30 KO
City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Barry, Y Toure, Milner (Kolarov 89), Silva, Aguero (Nasri 75), Balotelli (Dzeko 70)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Zabaleta, de Jong
Goals: Balotelli (22, 60), Aguero (69), Dzeko (89, 90+3), Silva (90+1)
Booked: Balotelli, Kompany, Dzeko, Richards
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: James Milner
The opening pressure of the game came from the home side, as Richards gave away a free kick on the right flank, but Young’s ball was cleared by the City defence. Anderson then headed well wide at the back post, as Rooney chipped the ball in from the right. Milner then had City’s first effort, but it was deflected back to De Gea. Richards then produced a diving header to clear from Anderson.
City’s first spell of pressure came through Richards and Silva. The full back got down the right flank well to get in a low cross, before a mazy run into the box beat five of the United defence. Toure managed to get the shot away from range, but it was deflected behind for a corner.
Kompany then put in a good tackle on Rooney in the box to win the ball, as United continued to press and City struggled to keep the ball. Fletcher looked for Rooney over the top, but he could only find Hart’s gloves. Kompany then had to clear a low cross from Nani.
But then, against the run of play, the visitors took the lead. Clichy slipped when trying to cross, but was able to win a throw in on the left. Silva then found some space in the middle and found Milner. His ball was behind Silva, but Balotelli was there to slot it into the far corner.
City suddenly had wind in their sails: Clichy picked up the ball on the left and carried it right to the edge of the United box. His ball square found Aguero and he dinked it to the middle, but it was slightly too high for Balotelli’s head and United were off the hook. Richards then broke out of defence and tried to chip De Gea from the centre circle, but it dropped well wide.
Hart got up well to punch away a United corner just after the half hour, an Anderson picked up the pieces for the home side. His shot from the edge of the box, though, was straight at the England keeper and he was able to hold on to the ball. Balotelli then won a free kick for City on the right flank, but Silva’s ball to the back post dropped behind before the Italian could reach it. Rooney then had a go from range, but Hart was able to hold on again.
A miss-kick by Evans in the six yard box let City off the hook from a United corner, when the home side’s centre-back should have pulled the hosts level. Aguero then had the chance to shoot inside the United box, but it was well blocked by a combination of defenders. Kompany was then booked for stopping a United breakaway, as he pulled Anderson back when he was looking to get in behind to a ball over the top.
The first action of the second half saw City win a free kick on the edge of the box and Johnny Evans dismissed. Balotelli slipped past the centre-back and was through on goal when he was pulled down right on the line of the box. The effort from Balotelli, though, was blocked and Richards couldn’t find a shot from the rebound. Richards then went down in the box and could have had a penalty, but the referee turned it down.
Lescott then did well to dispossess Welbeck in the box, as United looked for their equaliser on the break. Richards then found himself free in the box and shot well wide with his left foot, after Balotelli had done well to find Aguero on the edge. Young then should have done better in the City box, as he found space to shoot. It hit Milner and then Young again and Hart was rooted, but the deflection was wide of the post.
Aguero was then inches away from doubling City’s lead as Milner fired a ball across goal, but he couldn’t stretch enough to make a connection. Young then won the ball from Milner on the left and drove into the box, but Richards was there to concede the corner. Rooney had a shot from the corner of the box, but Hart swallowed it up.
And, as United were starting to create some chances, City hit them with a second goal. Some brilliant build up from Milner and Silva left the England international through on goal inside the six yard box. He found Balotelli at the back post and the Italian netted his second of the game. Silva could have had a third for City, but his effort was deflected wide.
Richards then won the ball back in the United half and Silva fired in a low ball towards Balotelli, but he wasn’t able to get there before Smalling, who cleared the danger. Evra then picked up a yellow card for a tough challenge on Barry, as City looked to contain the hosts.
And then City got their third. A neat flick from Balotelli then found Milner on the right wing and he nudged the ball on to Richards. The full back drove to the by line and fired a ball across the box, for Aguero to beat De Gea with 20 minutes to play. Dzeko could have had a goal with his first touch, as he shot from the edge of the box, but it was deflected inches past the far post.
City could have had their fourth as Silva found Dzeko in the box and his return pass was deflected into the air. The Spaniard tried to lift it over De Gea into the back post, but he skied it over the bar with the Bosnian unmarked at the back post. Dzeko then hit De Gea with a shot, as he broke into the box on a one-on-one.
With ten minutes to play, United pulled a goal back. A one-two between Hernandez and Fletcher resulted in the Scotsman sidefooting the ball from the edge of the box into the top corner, with Hart helpless. Smalling then headed wide from the penalty spot, after a free kick from the left flank had been cleared by Barry.
City made it four with a minute of normal time to play. A Silva corner was flicked to the back post where Lescott was there to knock the ball back into the middle. Dzeko was in the right place at the right time to knee the ball into the unguarded goal. And it got even better for the visitors. Silva found himself clean through on goal and slotted the ball through De Gea’s legs to make it five for City.
United looked to see the rest of the game out, but Silva then volleyed the ball through for Dzeko on the break as he steamed past the home side’s defence. Clean through on goal, he finished with his left foot to complete the humiliation and condemn United to their heaviest ever Premier League defeat at Old Trafford.