10/05/2009 14:00, Report by Nick Coppack
United 2 City 0
United now need just four points from three games to win a third successive league title after the Reds brushed aside Mark Hughes’ men in the Manchester derby on Sunday.
First-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez sealed the points on a day when United’s back four were rarely troubled. The Blues were no match for a United side determined to regain top spot after Liverpool’s win at West Ham on Saturday had sent the Scousers temporarily to the summit.
Now, however, three points clear and with a game in hand, the Reds are favourites to secure an 11th Premier League trophy and could do so at Old Trafford next Saturday should Sir Alex's men beat Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night.
For Sunday's derby battle, the United boss made five changes to the side that beat Arsenal at the Emirates on Tuesday. Jonny Evans and Rafael came into the back four for Rio Ferdinand and John O’Shea, while Ryan Giggs slotted into the centre of midfield. Up front, Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov started together for the 11th time in the league this season.
It was Ji-sung Park who had the first chance of the game. The South Korean, who’s scored in United’s last two matches, collected Ronaldo’s knock-down inside the box on three minutes but dragged his shot wide of Shay Given’s right-hand post.
The Reds enjoyed a lot of early possession and both Tevez and Ronaldo tested Given in the opening 10 minutes. City looked dangerous on occasion too, Robinho proving a handful for young Rafael at right back.
But it was United who went in front and it was that man Ronaldo with yet another free-kick. Against Arsenal in midweek he’d scored from 41 yards; this time it was a mere 28. Slightly left of centre, Ronaldo struck the ball sweetly and it flew goalwards, nicking Nigel de Jong on the end of the wall before bouncing once and nestling in the back of Given’s