Manchester United succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of their cross-town rivals City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. The Red Devils lost Chris Smalling to a red card late in the first half, and agonisingly conceded the game's only goal early in the second half. United made a spirited late rally, but didn't quite have enough to net an equalising goal.
The game got off to a even start, with both sides feeling their way into the encounter with, patient probing, and, in Wayne Rooney's case, terrible passing. Adnan Januzaj looked lively down the right, and Marouane Fellaini showed some pleasing touches in the centre of midfield.
Alas, United's confident opening didn't last, and City began to look increasingly dangerous. Midway through the half David De Gea was forced into two outstanding saves in quick succession, denying both Jesús Navas and Sergio Agüero in one-on-ones.
Things went from bad to worse with just five minutes of the half remaining, when Chris Smalling picked up his second yellow card for a cynical trip on James Milner -- a tackle almost as stupid as the block on Joe Hart's drop-kick that earned him his original booking a few minutes earlier. After the ejection, the hosts laid siege to the United goal, but the Reds withstood the barrage and a couple of City penalty appeals to stay level at the halftime whistle.
Injury was added to insult when an impressive Marcos Rojo had to be stretchered off with oxygen after a painful few minutes of City dominance early in the second half, as young Paddy McNair was handed his derby debut. With McNair partnering Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw in defence, United didn't exactly look watertight.
Sure enough, just past the hour City finally found the breakthrough. Yaya Touré found Gaël Clichy advancing down the left, with the Frenchman pulling the ball back across for Agüero to fire home.
City continued to dictate the game after going ahead, with United struggling to create anything of note on the counter-attack. Save for a Robin van Persie effort that was blocked by Joe Hart at the near post, the hosts looked comfortable in their advantage. Only the woodwork prevented Navas from sealing the three points with just over a quarter of an hour remaining.
But as the clock ticked towards 90, United suddenly found a second wind. A brilliant Rooney run culminated in Joe Hart clawing Ángel Di María's low shot away at the far post, shortly before Marouane Fellaini flicked a dinked free-kick wide after escaping the marking of Vincent Kompany. Despite having an extra man and the scoreboard advantage, City were on the back foot.
A string of United set-pieces ensued, but the Reds couldn't capitalise, and City hung on for a narrow victory.