City sink United in derby
© AFP

Sir Alex Ferguson's early season problems deepened after Geovanni's first half goal settled the Manchester derby in favour of Sven Goran Eriksson and left Ferguson's United without a win in their opening three league games.

The victory sent City to the head of the Premiership table with a maximum nine points from their opening three games as Eriksson's dream start at Eastlands continued. Defeat at the hands of the former England coach will have been frustrating enough for Ferguson, who enjoyed a fractious relationship with him during Eriksson's time in charge of the national team.

But more importantly, the United manager was left to contemplate a title defence that has brought just two points and one goal from three frustrating outings. And with Wayne Rooney out for two months after breaking a foot in last week's opener, United's latest misfiring display will understandably give cause for concern.

United may have dominated possession but a combination of Geovanni's deadly finishing and Micah Richards' outstanding defensive work meant this was a day for the blue half of Manchester. With Rooney, Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer out injured and Cristiano Ronaldo starting a three-match, Ferguson had little option but to ask Carlos Tevez to operate as a lone striker.

But with Nani, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes all quick to offer support to the Argentine, there initially seemed little doubt United would have more than enough firepower to overcome their neighbours. Twice in the opening half Tevez and Scholes exchanged quick passes to unpick the City defence and create an opening for Nani, but on both occasions the winger was denied by City keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

With Owen Hargreaves bolstering the United midfield with an impressive Premiership debut performance, Ferguson's side completely dominated the opening period. Were it not for a succession of outstanding blocks, tackles and clearances by Richards, United would have been well on their way to a first win of the season long before City finally sprang into life.

It took Eriksson's men fully 30 minutes to manage an effort on goal - a long range effort from Michael Johnson. But it took just another 60 seconds to register a second attempt - this time from Geovanni - that fired the home side into an unlikely lead.

In a rare moment of fluent attacking play, Didi Hamann linked with Elano, who picked out his fellow Brazilian Geovanni in space 30 yards out. And having been given time to set his sights, the former Barcelona man drilled a strike which deflected past Edwin van der Sar in the visitors' goal.

The goal prompted a predictable response from United who, after a brief spell of control by City, laid siege to the home side's goal for the whole of the second period without properly testing Schmeichel. Nemanja Vidic sent a bullet header crashing against the bar three minutes after the interval and Tevez somehow flashed the ball wide from Ryan Giggs' low cross.

And it was Tevez who wasted United's last clear-cut chance when he headed wide from just three yards deep into added time.