MAN CITY 1, MAN UNITED 0.
It looks as though Manchester City could finally wrestle footballing supremacy from their Old Trafford neighbours.
The race for the Barclays Premier League title race took another dramatic twist at the Etihad Stadium where City defeated their rivals in what had been billed as the most important Manchester derby ever staged.
Captain Vincent Kompany scored the all-important goal which moved City to the top of the table on goal difference from the Reds.
And with only two games left, the title is City’s to lose as Kompany explained: “After the game the reality kicked in. We have 180 minutes to achieve our goal.
“They will be the most important games of our lives starting with Newcastle away on Sunday.”
United have seen an eight-point lead at the top of the table wiped out in just four matches after City had looked to have blown their title hopes with a defeat at Arsenal at the start of April.
But a run of four successive wins from City couple with United winning only one of their last four matches has resulted in the title race taking another dramatic twist.
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted United have it all to do if they are to retain their league title.
“The defeat has damaged our title hopes and we are up against it,” he explained.
The Reds’ manager admitted his side was second best on the night and could not argue with their defeat.
He continued: “We didn’t test their keeper enough, though we started brightly and had good possession.
“It was a bad time to concede a goal on the stroke of half time. After that they counter attacked, but we cannot complain as they were more of a threat.”
City manager Roberto Mancini was again playing mind games dismissing his side’s title prospects.
“I am happy, but nothing has changed. We have two difficult games left and United two easy ones,” he said.
City started with the side which won at Wolves as David Silva made his 100th appearance for the club.
United, meanwhile, gave recalls to Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Ji-sung Park and Ryan Giggs.
Michael Carrick had an early shout for a penalty turned down as he claimed Kompany handled his goalbound shot.
Sergio Aguero, watched by father-in-law Diego Maradona, had two decent goal attempts as he bid to find the net for a seventh successive home game.
The decisive goal came in first-half stoppage time when Kompany beat Smalling in the air to head home Silva’s corner.
United rarely looked like getting back on level terms as City were the side which threatened to build on their lead.
Samir Nasri, Aguero and Yaya Toure all saw efforts fly wide of the target.
Gael Clichy forced a decent save from David de Gea low to his left while Nasri tried to walk the ball in the net.
United sent on Danny Welbeck, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young at different stages in the second half, but to no avoid as United went down with an uncustomary whimper.
Indeed, the most passion was in the technical area where there was a flashpoint involving the two managers.
Ferguson was incensed by a foul on Welbeck by Nigel de Jong for which the Dutchman was booked and had a frank exchange with Mancini as the pair would have squared up to one another but for the intervention of City coach David Platt.
All was forgiven at the final whistle, however, as the managers shook hands and their differences forgotten.