Tue, Oct 25, 2011 - Page 20 News List

United spanked by ‘noisy neighbors’

‘WORST EVER DAY’:Sir Alex Ferguson’s United were handed their biggest ever Premier League defeat and their worst loss at Old Trafford since 1955 as City ran riot

AFP, LONDON

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, left, scores his team’s third goal against Manchester United in their Premier League match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Mario Balotelli inspired the worst loss of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career as Manchester City thrashed 10-man Manchester United 6-1 to go five points clear at the top of the Premier League on Sunday.

Balotelli — who was forced to flee his home on Saturday following a bizarre late night blaze triggered by fireworks — lit the fuse on City’s title charge in their biggest win at Old Trafford for 85 years.

The 21-year-old Italian fired City ahead in the 22nd minute and added a second on the hour mark, before Argentine striker Sergio Aguero netted a third in the 69th minute.

A brace of late goals from Edin Dzeko and a David Silva finish completed City’s scoring on a memorable afternoon as United suffered their worst home defeat in Premier League history.

United — who had Jonny Evans sent off two minutes into the second half — scored a memorable late goal through Darren Fletcher, but it was scant consolation after a chastening afternoon for Ferguson’s men.

The defeat was United’s first league loss at Old Trafford since April last year and it left City in pole position at the top of the table.

“It’s good, but I think it’s not so important that we won 6-1, but that we beat a fantastic team — that is important,” City boss Roberto Mancini said.

Mancini was also pleased with the contribution of Balotelli, who repaid his faith in him with a two-goal performance.

“I’m happy for him because he scored two important goals, because he played well,” Mancini said. “I think it’s important for our confidence to come here and beat United.”

Balotelli celebrated his opening strike by removing his jersey to expose a T-shirt with the slogan “Why Always Me?” which delighted his teammates, but irked referee Mark Clattenburg, who promptly booked the forward.

Stunned United boss Ferguson, who has described City as the “noisy neighbors,” said the defeat was the worst of his 54-year career as a player and manager.

“It was our worst ever day,” Ferguson said. “It’s the worst result in my history, ever. Even as a player, I don’t think I ever lost 6-1.”

“The sending-off was a killer for us. We kept attacking when we went 4-1 down and we should have just said: ‘We’ve had our day.’ We just kept attacking. They were attacking three versus two. It was crazy football,” Ferguson told Sky Sports.

A good afternoon for City got even better in the late games as Chelsea crashed to a 1-0 defeat against Queens Park Rangers in a pulsating west London derby which saw Andre Villas-Boas’ side finish with nine men.

Promoted QPR took the lead from the penalty spot on 10 minutes, Heidar Helgusson slotting home after being bundled over by David Luiz.

Chelsea’s challenge unraveled further soon afterwards when Jose Bosingwa was harshly red-carded for hauling down Shaun Wright-Phillips.

A disastrous opening 45 minutes got worse for Chelsea when Didier Drogba became the next to receive his marching orders, given a straight red card for a rash two-footed tackle on Adel Taarabt.

Chelsea came back superbly in the second half and carved out a string of chances to score, with Nicolas Anelka coming closest with a late header, but Rangers held on for the win.

Chelsea manager Villas-Boas hit out at the refereeing performance of Chris Foy following the defeat.

“I think the refereeing was not good and it’s not the first time it happens to us,” Villas-Boas said. “I don’t want to believe there is a pattern, but it’s the third time in a row that a referee influences the result against us. Three matches with blatant refereeing mistakes. I’m very, very disappointed.”

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