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City 0 United 1

It was about time we saw a goal in a United game and what better place to score it than away at City. After last season’s derby humiliations, especially the shambles on the Munich anniversary, United had a point to prove. City may have unlimited pots of money and their fans may sing “we’ll buy your club and burn it down” but there is only one team with any real stature and gravitas in Manchester. United went to the council house to prove it, and came away with three deserve points. Optimism was not that high before the game. The United fans, huddled in the concourse pre-match to avoid the freezing weather, were fully aware that we had barely created a chance in the last 180 minutes and that City were flying after victories against Arsenal and Schalke. But it raised spirits when the teams came through- Fergie did what we all wanted to see by putting Rafael at right back and going with two strikers up front. Also, in light of his shambolic performance in Spain, Nani was dropped to the bench for Park.

We made our way out to our seats, half way back in the upper tier towards the City fans to our right. They were already getting their Munich gestures ready and doing airplane impressions, and whilst that would continue all afternoon it is not worth bothering to mention again. United fans, instead of singing “where’s you famous Munich song”, asked the home part timers “where’s your famous empty seats”. Derby day is important to Reds, but even more so to Blues who treat every won throw on like a World Cup fional victory. I guess they don’t have moments like Moscow to compare it too and the 32 years since their last trophy is too hard to remember for most.

Whilst the two sets of fans continued to have a go at each other, both collectively and also individuals singling each other out, the United team were busy dominating the game. City did not get a shot on or off target whilst United controlled the play, created a few chances and silenced the home fans. There was a scary moment when Ireland scuffed the ball and found the outside of the post, but United responded by opening the scoring. Rooney is often criticised for not being a natural goalscorer, but his positioning to tap home the ball after Carrick’s shot was exceptional. He ran the length of the pitch celebrating but we were too busy going mental in the away end to notice. How good it felt as the home fans sat down in silence looking absolutely gutted.

At half time United’s lead was totally deserved. Everyone gathered in the concourse waiting for the FA cup draw to come through and we also found out that the mighty Leeds had lost to Histon (who?!). Happy days. City were slightly improved in the second half but not by much, United ran the game and rarely looked in danger. And then the moment of contraversy, the Ronaldo sending off. We clearly saw Ronaldo reach up and touch the ball so at the time we thought it was fair second booking. The City fans celebrated it as if they had got a winner, perhaps they forgot they were still losing and that playing against ten men is not actually that easy. Having seen replays it was a dubious decision, but if we win at home to Sunderland perhaps it will work out ok and he will have got a rest. Anyway, City waited until stoppage time to scare United when Evra brilliantly cleared off the line, but seconds later Rooney found the keeper off his line and it took an amazing save to deny him doing a Beckham.

The final whistle went and it was nothing but relief. It would have been a totally miscarriage of justice had we not won this one, and it was the best result of the season so far. We escaped the trouble and tension outside, got back to the car and listened to Chelsea throw away three points at home. Happy days again. Hopefully this will kick start the season properly as to date we have performed averagely and got away with it. The next few games before Tokyo will be key to that, and spirits should be high. As for the hype of Robinho, I forgot he was even playing.

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