Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Rooney wrecks City's title dream

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is convinced the best goal of his career has ended any lingering hopes Manchester City had of winning the Barclays Premier League title this season.

Even Blues boss Roberto Mancini admitted all you can do, faced with such genius, is applaud after Rooney's jaw-dropping overhead kick 13 minutes from time settled a pulsating Manchester derby 2-1.

The England forward said: "That is my best goal. It was such an important game and to score the winning goal in that way was a great feeling - indescribable. I was just trying to keep my eye on the ball and to get a good connection. Luckily it went into the top corner. It is a significant result and almost certainly rules City out of the title race unless a disaster happens."

As United boss Sir Alex Ferguson reflected, Rooney's heroics mean it is virtually certain there will be no discussion of a clinical opener from Nani, nor the performance of Chris Smalling, who subdued Carlos Tevez to such an extent he did not have a shot.

Instead, it was David Silva who levelled, thanks to a fortunate deflection of an Edin Dzeko strike. Not that it mattered in the end.

"When a fantastic player like Rooney scores a goal like this, you can only clap," City boss Mancini said. "I am very sorry for my players. They really didn't deserve to lose this game."

There is almost a sense of deja vu about City's fortunes against United under Mancini. When the Italian took over as Inter Milan boss he struggled to guide his team to victory over AC Milan.

Now he is experiencing the same emotions, having lost three times in five meetings since his arrival at Eastlands, the only success turning into a defeat in last season's Carling Cup semi-final.

"It is like my first two years in Milan," said Mancini. "Every time we didn't deserve to lose, every time we did. For the same thing to happen again is incredible.

"But Manchester United have such a strong mentality. Even when they don't deserve to win the game, sometimes they do."

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