Mon, Jan 16, 2006 - Page 18 News List

City overwhelms United

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL Manchester City won bragging rights by defeating its higher ranked neighbor with a stellar performance as the Devils finished with 10 men

AP , LONDON

Roy Keane, left, of Celtic, challenges Kilmarnock's Colin Nish during their match at Celtic Park in Glasgow on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Manchester City beat crosstown rival Manchester United 3-1 on Saturday in the English Premier League, while Liverpool cut the gap on the Red Devils to one point with a 1-0 win over Tottenham.

Manchester City led 2-0 at halftime through goals from Trevor Sinclair and Darius Vassell in the 145th derby between the teams. Manchester United finished with 10 men when Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off with red card in the 66th minute.

Chelsea, which plays last-place Sunderland today, leads the league with 58 points, with Manchester United on 45 points in second place. Liverpool's win -- off Harry Kewell's first goal for the club since December 2004 -- gives it 44 points, four more than fourth-place Tottenham.

Thierry Henry scored a hat trick for Arsenal in a 7-0 win over Middlesbrough. Arsenal is fifth with 38 points.

In Saturday's other matches, it was: Aston Villa 1, West Ham 2; Charlton 2, Birmingham 0; Fulham 1, Newcastle 0; Portsmouth 0, Everton 1; and Blackburn 0, Bolton 0. Today, Wigan plays West Bromwich Albion.

At the City of Manchester Stadium, Sinclair scored in the 32nd minute. City goalkeeper David James denied Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney before Vassell made it 2-0 in the 39th. The fringe England international eluded marker Mikael Silvestre in the box and scored into an empty net.

"To go and face a Manchester United side with the array of talent that they've got, having only picked up one point out of 12 [in December] and being a little bit low on confidence ... to put a performance on like that, I think they deserved it," Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce said.

"We looked like the team that was up for a derby match, up for a scrap and we took our chances when they came."

Ronaldo was given a straight red card after jumping into a tackle on former Manchester United striker Andy Cole. While he didn't make contact, he was sent off for intent.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was angry at referee Steve Bennett.

"It was more rash than vicious," Ferguson said. "He didn't touch the player, in fact he didn't get anywhere near him, yet the referee decided it was a red card. Maybe he should look at it again."

Pearce said he also didn't think the ``poor challenge'' warranted a sending off.

Both clubs fielded new signings. Albert Riera, on loan from Espanyol, made his first start for City, and Patrice Evra was named at left back for Manchester United. Evra only lasted until halftime -- when he was substituted for striker Alan Smith.

"Maybe it was a bit of a gamble playing Patrice," Ferguson said. "I am not singling anyone out. The defending was poor and that is what has cost us the game."

United scored in the 76th minute when Ruud van Nistelrooy chested forward a cross from Ryan Giggs, then swiveled to score past James.

Manchester City substitute Robbie Fowler made it 3-1 in second-half injury time with a powerful diagonal kick.

At Highbury, Henry scored in the 20th, 30th and 68th minutes. Philippe Senderos, Robert Pires, Gilberto Silva and Alexander Hleb also scored. Henry's third goal equaled Cliff Bastin's Arsenal record of 150 goals scored in league matches.

The win equaled the best-ever victory for manager Arsene Wenger since he took charge in September 1996. Arsenal beat Everton 7-0 in the league in May last year.

"We gave a good unity in the way we defended, we remained collective the whole game, didn't complicate the game, didn't become arrogant or flashy," Wenger said.

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