Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United: Aguero’s goal means Manchester is blue

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MANCHESTER — Manchester is blue, once again. On Sunday Manchester City beat Manchester United 1-0 in a fiery encounter at the Etihad Stadium, winning their fourth-straight Manchester derby and that’s now six victories in their last seven matches against their bitter rivals.

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The game-winning goal of the 168th derby arrived in the 63rd minute as Sergio Aguero clipped home to send the home fans wild. United were reduced to 10-men just before half time as Chris Smalling was shown two yellow cards but even though they were down a man, Angel Di Maria, Robin van Persie and Marouane Fellaini all had good chances to equalize late in the game.

With the win City are up to third in the table, six points behind leaders Chelsea. United continue their worst-ever start to a PL season, they drop to ninth on 13 points.

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The game began at a frantic pace as United had plenty of the ball but City looked razor sharp in attack. In the 8th minute Aguero was set free on the left side of the box and the Argentine attacker skipped away from Antonio Valencia but saw his shot beat away by David De Gea from close range. At the other end United’s first chance arrived soon after as Di Maria chipped a ball into van Persie which the Dutchman chested down to Januzaj but he dragged his effort wide.

[VIDEO: Premier League highlights]

Things calmed down a little before half time but then the game sprung into life as first Aguero wriggled free of Marcos Rojo but hit a tame shot at De Gea. Soon after Jesus Navas had a glorious chance but sidefooted straight at De Gea, before United’s ‘keeper made a fine sprawling stop from Aguero just seconds later. Both players needed lengthy treatment after that collision were fine to carry on. Mayhem. But no goals. A flurry of yellow cards before the break to Daley Blind and Smalling cranked up the heat inside the Etihad. Smalling’s first yellow came from a silly block on Hart as City’s ‘keeper tried to kick the ball away, and moments later United were down to 10-men as Smalling slid in needlessly on James Milner and was shown a second yellow. No complaints.

[RELATED: Latest Premier League standings]

source: AP
Smalling sent off by Michael Oliver.

Right on half time Rojo looked to have hacked down Yaya Toure as a clipped ball set him clean through on goal, but referee Michael Oliver waved penalty shouts away. A slow-burner heated up rather quickly in the Manchester derby. After the interval City continued to push against 10-man United, as Michael Carrick came on for Januzaj and played in central defense. However van Gaal was forced into another defensive reshuffle after 55 minutes as Rojo looked to have popped his shoulder out when diving in for a challenge.

Young Paddy McNair came on to partner Carrick as City bombarded United’s makeshift defense. In the 60th minute Di Maria whipped in a great free kick to the back post which somehow eluded everyone as the Argentine threw his arms up in the air in frustration. City huffed and puffed as United showed little attacking intent and in the 63rd minute the opening goal of the game arrived. Toure picked the ball up on the inside left position and threaded an inch-perfect pass into Gael Clichy. The French full back pulled it back for Aguero to clip home and send the Etihad wild. 1-0 to the Citizens.

Instead of building on that lead City sat back and United almost equalized with 20 minutes to go as van Persie wriggled free and fired in a low shot which Hart stopped with his legs and the resulting corner came to nothing. City rattled the post through Navas late on as they pushed to kill off the game. United weren’t giving up  as Fellaini and Di Maria both went close, the latter forcing a great fingertip stop from Hart.

However City held on to record their fourth-straight league win over United. That hasn’t happened since 1970. Manchester is definitely blue.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kolarov, Demichelis, Kompany; Fernando, Yaya Toure; Navas, Milner (Nasri, 70′), Jovetic (Dzeko, 71′); Aguero (Fernandinho, 84′)

Goal: Aguero (63′)

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Rojo (McNair, 56′), Shaw; Blind, Fellaini; Januzaj (Carrick, 43′), Rooney, Di Maria; van Persie (Wilson, 82′)

Euro qualifying: Gundogan saves 10-man Germany, Bale earns Wales draw

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Germany played for much of its visit to Estonia with 10 men as Emre Can was sent off for a bad last-man tackle just 14 minutes in, but Ilkay Gundogan‘s second-half brace saw Germany slide through with all three points on a 3-0 win to jump back on top of Group C. The all-important first came on a deflected effort from just outside the box to the right of center, while his second came minutes later with a shot from nearly the same place but just inside the area. Timo Werner added the third with under 20 minutes to go.

Wales secured a 1-1 draw at home against Croatia, but both sides will have greivences with the refereeing. Daniel James was taken out by Dejan Lovren on the edge of the box eight minutes in and likely should have been a penalty kick as the Liverpool defender barged James over without playing the ball. After Nikola Vlasic put Croatia ahead moments later, Gareth Bale would equalize just before halftime one a silky play through the Croatian defense, but a foul in the buildup wasn’t called that would have stopped play before the goalscoring moment.

There were also a pair of scary moments that involved nasty-looking head injuries. James came together with a pair of Croatians in the first half, and while it looked initially like Borna Barisic and Domagoj Vida had taken the brunt of the clash, James appeared to lose consciousness thanks to a knee in the back of his head. Despite the appearance of a clear distressing head injury, James was allowed to continue. Just second after the halftime break, Ethan Ampadu settled under the ball for a header until Bruno Petkovic blasted through his torso from behind, sending the Welsh midfielder to the ground awkwardly, holding his head in agony. Petkovic came in so hard that he earned a yellow card and maybe could have even seen red on another day. Ampadu was not allowed to continue, replaced immediately by Joe Morrell. Also notable in the match, Mateo Kovacic was taken off at halftime after appearing to pick up a muscle problem.

Austria held on for a 1-0 victory over Slovenia to temporarily jump into the lead in Group G, ahead of Poland on goal differential. Hoffenheim defender Stefan Posch scored the game’s only goal, a 21st minute effort off a corner. The back line did the rest, holding the hosts to just two shots on target in Ljubljana.

Poland secured qualification to the finals with a 2-0 win over North Macedonia behind goals from Przemyslaw Frankowski and Arkadiusz Milik, both which came in the final 20 minutes. The first was a messy finish from Chicago Fire winger Frankowski, collecting a flubbed Robert Lewandowski shot and poking it through past goakeeper Stole Dimitrievski. The second goal was much prettier, with the referee playing advantage after Lewandowski was fouled, and Milik delivered a delicious looper into the far corner.

Click here to see a roundup of the action from the early slate of games, including wins by Belgium, the Netherlands, and Russia.

Full Sunday Euro 2020 qualification scoreboard:

Kazakhstan 0-2 Belgium
Belarus 1-2 Netherlands
Cyprus 0-5 Russia
Hungary 1-0 Azerbaijan
Scotland 6-0 San Marino
Estonia 0-3 Germany
Poland 2-0 North Macedonia
Slovenia 0-1 Austria
Wales 1-1 Croatia

Teams who have secured guaranteed Euro 2020 qualification:

Italy
Belgium
Russia
Poland

Report: Alexis Sanchez out until 2020 with ankle injury

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Alexis Sanchez has targeted a return to form at Inter, but that may be shelved for some time as an ankle injury picked up on international duty could keep him out of action for months.

The Chilean federation confirmed that Sanchez suffered a “dislocation of the ligaments” in his left ankle in the 0-0 friendly draw with Argentina over the weekend, but did not specify a timeframe for his recovery. However, Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri tweeted that Sanchez will not return until the calendar flips to 2020.

The injury is poorly timed for Sanchez who just broke into the Inter squad after being loaned from Manchester United. He scored his first goal in a 3-1 win over Sampdoria in late September before being sent off and suspended a match. The 30-year-old was also quality in the Champions League defeat to Barcelona, assisting Inter’s only goal.

At worst, a three-month injury layoff would see Sanchez return in mid-January, meaning he would miss the rest of the Champions League group stage as well as a host of Serie A matches. A Milan derby in early February would likely be a significant possibility for a late return.

Early Euro qualifiers: Belgium, Netherlands, Russia all win

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In the early slate of Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifiers, there were little surprises as Belgium, Russia, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Scotland all found the winner’s column.

Liverpool midfielder Giorginio Wijnaldum bagged a first-half brace, including an absolute rocket, as the Netherlands held on for a 2-1 win over Belarus. BATE Borisov midfielder Stanislav Dragun grabbed one back for Belarus soon after halftime, but the visitors held on in Minsk.

[ WATCH: Wijnaldum scores ripper for Netherlands ]

Virgil Van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt partnered in defense yet again, as they have for 17 of the last 19 Netherlands games, conceding just 17 goals in those 17 matches. Thanks in part to that stellar partnership, Jasper Cillessen had little to do, with Dragun’s headed goal the only shot on target for Belarus in the match, while the Netherlands put seven of their 21 shots on frame.

Michy Batshuayi and Thomas Meunier both found the back of the net as Belgium topped Kazakhstan 2-0 in Astana to remain perfect in qualifying action and keep pace with Russia in Group I. Batshuayi was filling in for an injured Romelu Lukaku, and he latched onto a low back-post cross from Dennis Praet for the opener 21 minutes in. Meunier’s 53rd minute poke came off an absolutely stunning long delivery from Eden Hazard to the far post placed perfectly over the head of the defender. Belgium held 66% possession throughout the match, and while they were only able to put three shots on target, they scored on two of them and held the hosts to just one. Belgium has now scored 30 goals in Euro qualification while conceding just one.

Russia also continued to surge ahead in Group I play one game back of Belgium with a 5-0 demolition of Cyprus in Nicosia. Denis Cheryshev struck nine minutes in to put Russia ahead as he pilfered the ball off the Cyprus back line. The hosts lost Standard Liege defender Konstantinos Laifis to a straight red card, and the rest was elementary. Magomed Ozdoev, Artem Dzyuba, and Aleksandr Golovin all found the back of the net before Cheryshev finished it off with his second of the game in stoppage time. Russia and Belgium have both qualified for the finals, with Russia sitting in second three points behind the perfect group leaders.

Hungary scored 10 minutes in and hung on for a 1-0 victory at home over Azerbaijan. 30-year-old Mihaly Korhut struck a long-distance ripper from well outside the box that appeared to catch goalkeeper Emil Balayev off guard, and the Hungary defense did the rest. RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban and Sporting Kansas City defender Botond Barath held Azerbaijan to just four total shots, including two on target. Meanwhile, despite splitting the possession nearly halfway, Hungary ripped off 23 shots, putting six on target.

Scotland hammered San Marino at home 6-0 behind a first-half hat-trick from Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn. In the pouring rain in Glasgow, McGinn opened the scoring 12 minutes in for his second international goal on a simple cutback and shot from Ryan Christie which clipped McGinn on its way inside the far post. He hit for a second just before the half-hour mark as he poked home a cross by Scott McTominay that was saved into no-man’s land by a diving San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini. The third featured the highest degree of difficulty as a set-piece delivery into the box was headed by Stuart Findlay towards the far post and McGinn ripped it home on the doorstep under pressure. Lawrence Shankland, Findlay, and Stuart Armstrong finished off the scoreline in the second half, although Scotland has still long been eliminated from qualification in the top-heavy Group I.

WATCH: Liverpool’s Wijnaldum scores rocket on Netherlands duty

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Georginio Wijnaldum is given a bit more freedom from his club than his country, and loves every minute it.

Netherlands beat Belarus 2-1 on Sunday at the Dinamo National Olympic Stadium in Minsk, and the Liverpool midfielder supplied both goals including a smashing effort from distance.

[ MORE: Neymar injured again ]

Wijnaldum, who turns 29 next month, gets a short pass and takes a touch to the middle of the park before unleashing this shot about 25 yards from goal.

He’s now scored in three of his last four EURO qualifiers, and has seven goals and three assists in his last 10 caps.

Wijnaldum now has 15 goals in 60 career caps.

The Dutch are three points ahead of Germany and Northern Ireland with 15 points, though the Germans can join them on 15 with a defeat of Estonia this afternoon.