The Manchester derby, kicking off at The City of Manchester Stadium, promised to be a lively affair this afternoon following a 4-3 thriller the last time these two sides met.
Manchester United are still battling for that top spot whilst City are hoping to steal fourth, and it was the reds who started the game better and slightly edged the first half.
The best chance of the half fell to Giggs on forty-five minutes, he attacked a driven cross but couldn’t get enough behind it to beat Given. Rooney also had a decent chance a couple of minutes before but he dragged his shot wide of the goal. Until then Manchester United’s attempts had consisted of a couple of long range efforts from Fletcher and Scholes, but their rivals in sky-blue also looked decent – Bellamy looked lively on the left hand side with the threat of Tevez and Adebayor prominent in the centre.
City were still the underdogs at halftime and were trading as high as 3/1 for the win at halftime.
The second half began with much of the same as United dominated and City tried to get at them with the occasional break. Both sides continued to create very few chances though and for a vast majority of the ninety minutes, this was a fruitless midfield battle. Manchester United drifted out to 11/4 with twenty minutes to go and Giggs came very close to settling that bet when he chased a ball over the top but just failed to beat Given to it. United continued to drift and were as high as 8/1 with under ten minutes left.
Things began to open up a touch in the dying stages as De Jong tested Van der Sar from twenty yards and Nani snapped a shot wide before Berbatov came close with a header which just drifted past the post. Manchester City then had a couple of shots scrambled away from the line following a corner with Vieira and Onuoha both trying to become heros.
The board went up to declare three minutes of stoppage time and it looked like this game was destined for a 0-0 Draw, but in the final seconds – with the last kicks of the game – a ball was floated into the box by Nani and there was the veteran Paul Scholes to head the ball into the corner of the net; a gift for United who had saved the best for last once more. Despair for City who deserved better but late United goals is something we’ve all become used to over the years. Scholes was 18/1 to score first at Halftime and if taken later those odds would have been astronomical, a deserved fortune for anyone who took them.