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Vincent Kompany's powerful header sealed a 1-0 win for Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City over title rivals Manchester United on Monday to put Roberto Mancini's side within two victories of Premier League glory. Pictures by Getty Images with additional reporting from Reuters
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The Belgian defender rose unmarked just before halftime at the Etihad Stadium to settle a compelling and frantic derby that lacked quality but more than made up for that in tension.
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United could not respond as City moved above their neighbours on goal difference with a match at Newcastle United and a home game with strugglers Queen Park Rangers to come.
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Both sides have 83 points, with City having a superior goal difference of eight, and the momentum is now with Roberto Mancini's side who have clawed back an eight-point deficit since Easter to move within sight of their first English title since 1968.
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With Diego Maradona watching from the stands it was City's South Americans who began to warm to the task, along with Spaniard David Silva who orchestrated City's attack.
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With the clock ticking and the visitors becoming desperate tempers flared in the technical area with Mancini and Ferguson involved in a heated exchange.
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A crackling atmosphere greeted the players as the sun set in Manchester and it was Alex Ferguson's experienced title winners who began with real urgency.
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United found themselves pinned back as City began to hog possession and Aguero again failed to make the most of another half chance that came his way.
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Ex Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra shakes hands with fans prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on April 30, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Getty Images)
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Manchester City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak (L) watches his team challenge Manchester United in their English Premier League football match at The Etihad stadium in Manchester, north-west England on April 30, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)