Manchester City took control of the Premier League title race with two games remaining thanks to a derby victory over rivals Manchester United.
Vincent Kompany's header in first-half stoppage time gave City the win that puts them top on goal difference, just three weeks after they trailed United by eight points.
City needed victory while Sir Alex Ferguson knew a draw would suit his purposes more than opposite number Roberto Mancini.
And the United manager perhaps decided to err on the side of caution, with Wayne Rooney employed as a lone striker.
In a game of few chances, City were the more positive side and deserved the three points from what had been labelled the biggest game in the Premier League's 20-year history.
United, in contrast, were passive, poor and lacking inspiration despite the high stakes, failing to get a shot on target as City keeper Joe Hart enjoyed a virtually untroubled night.
Ferguson's frustrations boiled over in the closing stages when he angrily confronted Mancini after City substitute Nigel de Jong was booked for fouling Danny Welbeck.
Mancini delighted City's support by giving the Scot as good as he got - complete with gestures - as they went head-to-head before fourth official Mike Jones stepped in.
With United dropping eight points out of their last 12, the momentum and advantage is now with City. Mancini knows victory in their last two games, away at Newcastle United and at home to Queens Park Rangers, would give them their first title since 1967-68.
City's recent resurgence has also proved decisive for their goal difference as they now hold an eight-goal advantage over United and, as referee Andre Marriner sounded the final whistle, their fans joyously celebrated a victory they clearly felt would prove decisive.
City's home comforts
City's Premier League home record this season stands at 17 wins and one draw. They are guaranteed to finish with the best home record in the division this season and the team sporting that record has won the Premier League in each of the last nine seasons.
Ferguson's selection had an almost European look to it, with Rooney starting as the lone front man and Park Ji-sung starting in the Premier League for the first time since January with the apparent detail of marking Yaya Toure.
Watched from the stands by his father-in-law Diego Maradona, Sergio Aguero had City's best early chances but the Argentine was twice off target.
Rooney cut an isolated figure in a United side seemingly set out for containment - but he was still lively enough to enjoy several feisty exchanges with Kompany, one of which earned the City captain a yellow card from referee Marriner.
After being frustrated by United early on, City gradually increased the pressure and were rewarded with the breakthrough in first-half stoppage time. Chris Smalling failed to make contact with David Silva's corner and Kompany powered a header past United keeper David de Gea.
Park's contribution had been minimal and it was no surprise when he was the first player sacrificed by Ferguson before the hour, as he chose to give United more offensive options by introducing Welbeck.
Carlos Tevez had also worked hard but had been on the margins. He was replaced with the more defensive-minded De Jong after 67 minutes.
Mancini attempted to close the game down further by introducing Micah Richards for David Silva, United responding by introducing Ashley Young for the disappointing Nani, an alteration that met with little attacking response from United.
Toure had been dominant for City and almost wrapped up the victory with a 20-yard shot just wide following a trademark surge from midfield.
In the closing moments it was City applying the pressure as opposed to United, with De Gea saving well from Gael Clichy and the otherwise excellent Samir Nasri guilty of over-elaboration with an opportunity in the area after another powerhouse run from Toure.
United's display was so poor that they were unable to even rouse themselves for their trademark late rally, City surviving in complete comfort to take control of the title race.
- 25 Hart
- 04 Kompany Booked
- 05 Zabaleta
- 06 Lescott
- 22 Clichy
- 18 Barry
- 19 Nasri (Milner - 90' )
- 21 Silva (Richards - 82' )
- 42 Y Toure Booked
- 16 Aguero
- 32 Tevez (De Jong - 68' Booked )
- 30 Pantilimon
- 02 Richards
- 13 Kolarov
- 07 Milner
- 34 De Jong
- 10 Dzeko
- 45 Balotelli
- 01 De Gea
- 03 Evra
- 04 Jones Booked
- 05 Ferdinand
- 12 Smalling
- 11 Giggs
- 13 Park Ji-sung (Welbeck - 58' )
- 16 Carrick Booked
- 17 Nani (Young - 83' )
- 22 Scholes (Valencia - 78' )
- 10 Rooney
- 40 Amos
- 21 Rafael
- 18 Young
- 25 Valencia
- 09 Berbatov
- 14 Hernandez
- 19 Welbeck
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +5:15
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Blocked by Joleon Lescott. Unfair challenge on Joe Hart by Chris Smalling results in a free kick. Vincent Kompany restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +4:09
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Gareth Barry.90:00 +2:29 Substitution
Substitution James Milner joins the action as a substitute, replacing Samir Nasri.90:00 +1:22
Foul by Antonio Valencia on Gnegneri Toure Yaya, free kick awarded. Gael Clichy takes the direct free kick.89:55
Ryan Giggs fouled by Micah Richards, the ref awards a free kick. Ryan Giggs takes the direct free kick.88:01
The assistant referee flags for offside against Sergio Aguero. Indirect free kick taken by David De Gea.87:23
Gael Clichy takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.86:35
Foul by Gnegneri Toure Yaya on Ashley Young, free kick awarded. Chris Smalling restarts play with the free kick.85:44
Foul by Phil Jones on Sergio Aguero, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Samir Nasri.82:56
Ashley Young fouled by Pablo Zabaleta, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Ashley Young, clearance by Gareth Barry.81:15 Substitution
Substitution Luis Nani leaves the field to be replaced by Ashley Young.81:15 Substitution
Substitution Micah Richards joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Silva.81:15
Gnegneri Toure Yaya has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.79:58
Foul by Wayne Rooney on Vincent Kompany, free kick awarded. Joe Hart takes the free kick.79:10
Sergio Aguero concedes a free kick for a foul on Phil Jones. Free kick taken by Phil Jones.77:55
Gael Clichy takes the direct free kick.77:55 Booking
Booking Michael Carrick receives a yellow card.77:49
Michael Carrick challenges Gareth Barry unfairly and gives away a free kick.77:12 Substitution
Substitution Antonio Valencia replaces Paul Scholes.
Sergio Aguero has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.75:37
Luis Nani crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, clearance by Nigel De Jong.75:37 Booking
Booking Caution for Nigel De Jong.75:21
Sergio Aguero takes a shot. Blocked by Rio Ferdinand. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Danny Welbeck by Nigel De Jong.74:03
Gnegneri Toure Yaya fouled by Paul Scholes, the ref awards a free kick. Nigel De Jong restarts play with the free kick.72:59
Luis Nani concedes a free kick for a foul on Gael Clichy. Joe Hart takes the free kick.71:51
Gnegneri Toure Yaya produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.68:58
Direct free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.68:58 Booking
Booking Phil Jones goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.68:55
Unfair challenge on Gareth Barry by Phil Jones results in a free kick.67:07 Substitution
Substitution Nigel De Jong comes on in place of Carlos Tevez.63:12
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs, save by Joe Hart.60:18
Patrice Evra gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Pablo Zabaleta. David Silva delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Patrice Evra makes a clearance.59:06
Gareth Barry fouled by Luis Nani, the ref awards a free kick. Gael Clichy takes the direct free kick.57:31 Substitution
Substitution Ji-Sung Park leaves the field to be replaced by Danny Welbeck.56:41
Inswinging corner taken by David Silva from the right by-line played to the near post, Patrice Evra makes a clearance. Effort from the edge of the area by Samir Nasri goes wide of the left-hand post.55:10
Free kick awarded for a foul by Chris Smalling on Carlos Tevez. Gnegneri Toure Yaya takes the direct free kick.52:19
Patrice Evra restarts play with the free kick.52:19 Booking
Booking Gnegneri Toure Yaya is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.52:15
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Giggs by Gnegneri Toure Yaya.50:20
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by David Silva.49:05
Corner taken short by Luis Nani.48:56
Luis Nani takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.47:32
Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line, save made by Joe Hart. Luis Nani takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +2:40 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.45:00 +0:23
David Silva provided the assist for the goal.45:00 +0:23 Goal scored
Goal! - Vincent Kompany - Man City 1 - 0 Man Utd Vincent Kompany finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Man City 1-0 Man Utd.45:00 +0:04
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by David Silva from the right by-line,44:28
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by David Silva, clearance made by Rio Ferdinand.40:35
Short corner taken by Luis Nani. Shot on goal by Ji-Sung Park from just inside the area clears the crossbar.39:33
Samir Nasri takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Phil Jones.35:55
Pablo Zabaleta takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.35:00
Shot by Sergio Aguero from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.34:21
Phil Jones challenges Gael Clichy unfairly and gives away a free kick. Gnegneri Toure Yaya takes the free kick.32:30
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Michael Carrick by Carlos Tevez. David De Gea restarts play with the free kick.29:42
Unfair challenge on Wayne Rooney by Joleon Lescott results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.28:59
Effort from outside the penalty box by Gnegneri Toure Yaya goes wide right of the target.24:49
Free kick awarded for a foul by Luis Nani on Joleon Lescott. Gnegneri Toure Yaya takes the direct free kick.24:11
Sergio Aguero produces a volleyed right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the right-hand post.23:38
Samir Nasri takes a short corner.22:50
Luis Nani challenges Gareth Barry unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Gnegneri Toure Yaya.21:49
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Samir Nasri, clearance by Patrice Evra.18:52 Booking
Booking Vincent Kompany is booked.12:47
Foul by Pablo Zabaleta on Wayne Rooney, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Patrice Evra.11:38
Gareth Barry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Patrice Evra. Free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.10:23
Paul Scholes is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Gnegneri Toure Yaya.9:09
Shot from just outside the box by Luis Nani goes over the bar.7:32
Inswinging corner taken by Luis Nani from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Vincent Kompany.5:08
David Silva takes a shot. Rio Ferdinand gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by David Silva, Rio Ferdinand makes a clearance.1:51
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ji-Sung Park by Carlos Tevez. Free kick taken by Michael Carrick.0:30
Short corner worked by Luis Nani.0:00
The match gets underway.
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