Sergio Aguero’s strike in the 63rd minute proved to be the difference between Manchester City and Manchester United on Sunday, but the Manchester derby was decided before half time.
Visiting United headed into the half-time interval at the Etihad Stadium with a numerical disadvantage after Chris Smalling was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The England international defender picked up his first booking of the match just past the half-hour mark when he challenged City goalkeeper Joe Hart in the home team’s penalty area.
Smalling got his second caution on 39 minutes for a foul on fellow England international James Milner.
Playing against City with 10 men was never going to be easy, and despite United making a fight of it in the second half, Manuel Pellegrini’s side were too strong for them.
United manager Louis van Gaal will get the criticism for Sunday’s derby defeat, but it is Smalling who should get the blame.