Millennium Post

Drab derby: United, City play out tepid 0-0 draw as Fellaini sees red

Drab derby: United, City play out tepid 0-0 draw as Fellaini sees red
Marouane Fellaini was sent off for headbutting Sergio Aguero as Manchester City and Manchester United fought out an attritional goalless draw at Etihad Stadium to leave their hopes of a place in the Premier League's top four still in the balance. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be the happier after they extended their unbeaten league run to 24 games, a feat achieved without Fellaini in the closing stages after he was dismissed for a senseless headbutt on Aguero.

Argentine Aguero came closest for City when he hit the post early on and manager Pep Guardiola was left with an injury concern when keeper Claudio Bravo was taken off on a stretcher after injuring his calf catching a cross in the second half.

City substitute Gabriel Jesus had a later header correctly ruled out for offside as they remain in fourth place, with United a point behind in fifth as both sides have five games remaining. United had 30.8% possession - their lowest figure in a Premier League game since Opta started recording possession in 2003-04. But Mourinho's side showed all the qualities that have ensured they have remained unbeaten in the Premier League since October to battle their way to a point here. United spent much of the game on the back foot and almost the entire second half camped in their own territory, but showed the reserves of resilience, organisation and defiance that compensates for their current lack of stardust.

Michael Carrick provided the solid platform and for the most part City were frustrated, with too many efforts off target or lacking the power to trouble United keeper David de Gea. United carried real threat in the pace of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial but their midfield lacked the guile to provide the right service. This result keeps United right in the hunt for the top four as they stand in fifth place, one point behind City and two points behind third-placed Liverpool with a game in hand. The biggest minus on their night was the crass stupidity of Fellaini, needlessly involved in the incident that saw him thrust his head into the face of Aguero.

Fellaini had been booked 19 seconds earlier for another foul on the City forward and after his red card he had to be encouraged to leave the field by his team-mates. This was deja vu for City - so much possession and territory, too little end result. City created the best chances and effectively spent the second 45 minutes camped in United territory but as on so many occasions this season, possession and territory was not turned into scoreline supremacy.
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