Aguero hands City derby-day spoils

Aguero hands City derby-day spoils

Manchester City reasserted themselves as the dominant local force as Sergio Aguero's second-half goal secured a 1-0 Premier League victory over 10-man derby rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

Both managers had claimed in the build-up to the game that their team was the biggest in the city, but it was Manuel Pellegrini's City who prevailed after Chris Smalling's brainless first-half dismissal handed them control.

The United centre-back saw two yellow cards after trying to block a clearance by Joe Hart and then fouling James Milner, and after seeing three penalty appeals waved away, City eventually took the spoils thanks to Aguero. The Argentine's 63rd-minute strike ended a run of three winless games for City, who climbed back to within six points of leaders Chelsea. Victory gave third-placed City a fourth consecutive league win over their neighbours for the first time since 1970, and left Louis van Gaal's United seven points behind the champions in ninth place.

To compound matters, United lost centre-back Marcos Rojo to a shoulder injury in the second half, but Van Gaal will have drawn encouragement from his side's dogged showing on a ground where they lost 4-1 last season. City were missing the injured David Silva and received a late blow when Aleksandar Kolarov was forced to withdraw from the starting XI after injuring himself in the warm-up, with Gael Clichy coming in.

It could have been even worse for United, but Oliver twice rejected strong penalty appeals from City -- the first when Marouane Fellaini kicked the back of Aguero's foot, the second when Rojo clattered Yaya Toure from behind as the Ivorian sought to bring down a high ball. City manager Pellegrini sent on Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko for the final 20 minutes. But City balanced up their act as they brought on Fernandinho to see out the match and they did just that.