Vincent Kompany’s towering header earned Manchester City a momentous 1-0 victory over uninspired title rivals Manchester United on Monday to put Roberto Mancini’s side within two victories of Premier League glory.
The Belgian defender rose unmarked just before halftime at the Etihad Stadium to settle a compelling and frantic derby that lacked quality but more than made up for in tension.
City moved above Alex Ferguson’s side on goal difference with a tricky away match at Newcastle United and a home game with strugglers Queens Park Rangers to come.
The Manchester rivals both have 83 points but City hold a superior goal difference of eight.
The momentum is now with Mancini’s side who have clawed back an eight-point deficit since Easter to move within sight of a first top flight title since 1968.
United lack sting
United had just two shots on target, hardly forcing City goalkeeper Joe Hart into a save.
With Diego Maradona watching from the stands it was City’s South Americans who began to warm to the task, along with Spaniard David Silva who orchestrated City’s attack.
United found themselves pinned back as City began to hog possession and Aguero again failed to make the most of another half chance that came his way. The visitors would have been happy to hear the halftime whistle on level terms but Kompany, sent off when the sides met in the FA Cup this season, chose the perfect time to score.
When Silva sent in a corner the Belgian evaded the attentions of marker Chris Smalling and thumped a powerful header past David de Gea.
United could never really find any attacking rhythm after the break as City erected a sky blue wall to deny the visiting forwards any quality service.
With the clock ticking down and United becoming desperate, tempers flared in the technical area with Mancini and Ferguson involved in a heated exchange.