Man City 0-1 Man Utd: Marcus Rashford claims Manchester derby spoils
By Jack Wilkinson at The Etihad
Last Updated: 21/03/16 8:20am
Marcus Rashford scored on his Manchester derby debut as United all but ended City's title hopes with a 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
The United academy product's 16th-minute strike proved to be the decisive goal as United ground out a much-needed victory courtesy of Rashford's fifth goal on his eighth appearance for the club.
City's cause was hampered by the loss of Raheem Sterling and Joe Hart in either half to injuries, and they failed to really test David de Gea, Sergio Aguero's header against the post the closest they came to equalising.
The result sees United maintain their quest for Champions League qualification and was the perfect tonic as they atoned for their Europa League exit to Liverpool in style.
City remain 15 points adrift of leaders Leicester with just eight games to play and are now mired in the race for the top four, with United, level with fifth-placed West Ham, just a point off their city rivals.
With Vincent Kompany's recurring calf injury marring City's midweek progression into the Champions League quarter-finals, Martin Demichelis was drafted in to partner Eliaquim Mangala in City's only change from Wednesday's goalless draw with Dynamo Kiev.
Louis van Gaal, meanwhile, removed Marouane Fellaini from the firing line after the midfielder bore the brunt of the criticism that followed Thursday's Europa League exit against Liverpool, Morgan Schneiderlin replacing the Belgian.
City made the better start and could have an early lead but, after Matteo Darmian failed to clear Sterling's cross, Jesus Navas produced a finish fitting of a man with just one goal this season, dragging wide on seven minutes.
City continued on the front foot but Navas again couldn't convert Sterling's pass as De Gea saved with his feet. And they were made to pay as United took the lead against the run of play.
Juan Mata and Schneiderlin combined to release the 18-year-old onto the City defence, he then burst past Demichelis before slotting through Hart to become the youngest scorer in the fixture in the Premier League era.
It could have been two shortly after, but Anthony Martial was thwarted by Hart after a neat pirouette to fashion space.
Demichelis missed the chance to atone for his part in United's goal, heading David Silva's free-kick wide on 22 minutes, before Sterling was forced off with a groin problem following Mata's challenge.
With Fernando replacing Sterling, Toure was given empowered to roam forward and he almost had an immediate effect, curling wide just after the half-hour mark.
The half drew to a close with Rashford going to ground in the area under Demichelis' rash challenge, but referee Michael Oliver opted against awarding United a penalty as a melee between both sets of players ensued.
The second half got off to the worst start for City as Demichelis' loose back pass forced Hart into a rushed clearance, with the England stopper joining Sterling in departing the game prematurely with a suspected calf injury.
His replacement, Willy Caballero, was alert to keep Martial's deflected shot out on 53 minutes before Mangala denied Rashford a second with a well-timed block.
City rallied, with substitute Wilfried Bony denied by Chris Smalling's block before Sergio Aguero came close with two headers, rattling the frame United goal on 66 minutes before miscuing his effort from Silva's cross.
Aguero had the chance to snatch a point in injury time but his wide effort sealed the bragging rights for United as their defence stood firm.
Man City: Hart (6), Sagna (6), Demichelis (4), Mangala (6), Clichy (5), Fernandinho (6), Toure (6), Navas (6), Sterling (5), Silva (6), Aguero (6).
Used subs: Caballero (6), Fernando (5), Bony (6).
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Darmian (6), Smalling (9), Blind (8), Rojo (7), Schneiderlin (7), Carrick (7), Lingard (6), Mata (6), Martial (8), Rashford (8).
Used subs: Fosu-Mensah (5), Valencia (6), Schweinsteiger (5).
Man of the Match: Chris Smalling.