served a one-match ban and both Yaya and Kolo Toure reported for international duty.
Nevertheless, City began the game on the front foot, herding United back and coursing with confidence on their fruitful home turf. The Reds were given no time on the ball, evidenced in heart-stopping fashion when Aguero charged down Lindegaard's clearance. Fortunately for the Dane, the ball ricocheted wide of the target.
Having survived that brush with a deficit, United were soon ahead. Rooney dropped between City's lines to collect the ball before spreading it wide to Valencia. The Ecuadorian swung the ball towards the far post, where Rooney bulldozed between Nani and Micah Richards to power a header against the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
The away end was presently a heaving, writhing mass of delirium - and the mood was further heightened two minutes later when City skipper Kompany was dismissed in controversial fashion. The Belgian launched into a two-footed challenge to rob Nani of possession, but cleanly won the ball. Referee Chris Foy paused before brandishing his red card, whipping the Etihad Stadium into a storm of fury.
City's initial response was one of defiance. Aguero forced a magnificent full-strength save from Lindegaard with a curling effort from the edge of the area, then smashed another effort into the side-netting after seizing on a defensive misunderstanding between Ferdinand and Jones.