Manchester - Sergio Aguero's goal has ensured Louis van Gaal's first Manchester derby
ended in defeat as Manchester City beat 10-man Manchester United 1-0 at
Eastlands on Sunday.
As it happened: Manchester City v Manchester United
United manager Van Gaal's side had to play more than half the match a man down as defender Chris Smalling was sent off in the 39th minute after collecting two needless yellow cards, having charged down goalkeeper Joe Hart's clearance kick before a reckless foul on James Milner.
City had several penalty appeals rejected by referee Michael Oliver before Aguero fired City into a 63rd-minute lead after finishing from close range to crown a superb one-touch move involving Yaya Toure and Gael Clichy.
The Argentinian striker's 10th league goal of the season left him top of the Premier League scoring charts after he had been tied on nine goals with Chelsea's Diego Costa heading into this weekend's round of matches.
Hart then saved well from Angel di Maria to deny United an equaliser 14 minutes from time before Marouane Fellaini wastefully headed wide when well-placed to make it 1-1.
Toure, however, could have made it 2-0 in the first of five minutes of added-on time but headed over the top from a few yards out.
Victory in front of their own fans saw Premier League champions City move to within six points of leaders Chelsea as they ended a run of three games without a win in all competitions.
But they remained third in the table, two points adrift of second-placed Southampton.
"They (United) played well towards the end, we had most of the chances but you miss a couple and you can seem to lose control of the game," City captain Vincent Kompany told Sky Sports.
"Ultimately we stood strong, a clean sheet and a good derby win," the Belgian central defender added.
Recently City have been held to a disappointing 2-2 draw away to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and been beaten beaten in the league by West Ham.
They also saw their defence of the English League Cup end with a 2-0 loss at home to Newcastle in midweek but Sunday's result was just the boost Manuel Pellegrini's men needed ahead of Wednesday's return Champions League group clash with CSKA.
"It is a boost for us and we will do our job again in the Champions League on Wednesday," said Kompany.
United's defeat meant they dropped to ninth behind Everton on goals scored and remained 13 points off the summit, with Dutch boss Van Gaal still to record his first away league win as manager of the Red Devils.
"I said to the boys that the willpower, the labour was unbelievable," said Van Gaal, whose side are also level on points with West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United.
"When you can give that, you can be very proud but we have zero points and in sport it is always the goals that count," he added, with United's haul of 13 points from 10 games representing their worst start to an English top-flight season since 1986/87, when Ron Atkinson was sacked as manager and replaced by legendary boss Alex Ferguson.
"We were close but not close enough today and we have to improve," said Van Gaal, who had no complaints regarding Smalling's dismissal.
"The first yellow card for Chris Smalling, I did not see but OK, the referee gives a yellow card. You know as a player you have a yellow and you cannot do what he did for the second yellow card. That is logical."