MANCHESTER, Apr 28 – Fellaini ruined a decent personal performance by getting himself sent off in the most foolish of circumstances six minutes from time.
Fellaini had just been booked for fouling Sergio Aguero when he chased after the player, bundled him over and then head-butted him in the ensuring fracas.
He was given a straight red by referee Martin Atkinson and can have few complaints.
Aguero made the most of it but there was definite contact between the two and the referee had no option.
Fellaini’s dismissal left United to fight the final few minutes of a frantic game with only 10 men – but he will be relieved that they managed to hold on to a point.
City thought they had nicked it in added time when sub Gabriel Jesus headed home a Aguero cross – but he was flagged offside.
Fellaini will receive a three- game ban just when United have six players out injured.
United will be pleased to have stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to 24 games – and that equals their club record in the top flight set in 2010-11.
For their part, City will be pleased with the way they bounced back from their crushing FA cup semi-final disappointment.
Pep Guardiola’s side enjoyed the bulk of possession but United showed the dogged resilience that has made them so hard to beat this season.
Jose Mourinho said despite missing six players he would field a team of fighters and while they may have lacked real quality there was no doubting their battling spirit.
Claudio Bravo almost gifted United a goal in the first half but ended up being stretchered off 11 minutes from the end after damaging a calf catching a cross.
As expected in a derby, no prisoners were taken and, as much as referee Atkinson tried to let the game flow free-kicks littered the first period.
Such was the ferocity of some of the tackling that it was no surprise when the ball had to be replaced after 20 minutes.
Nicolas Otamendi, clearly wary of Marcus Rashford’s pace, twice took the United striker out and Atkinson needed eyes in the back of his head to see everything that was going on off the ball.
Apart from the pace of Rashford, City also had Anthony Martial’s speed to contend with and one run by the French youngster that left Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany in his tracks, underlined his threat. Aguero struck the post early on from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross but was flagged offside.
David de Gea was the busier of the two keepers saving well from Aguero and Aleksandar Kolarov. Aguero was also off target with two other shots.
But, at the other end, that man Bravo nearly gifted United the lead.
It was almost a repeat of his blunder on his debut in the Old Trafford derby in September when he collided with John Stones as he flapped at a cross and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored. Bravo could not blame a
Seven of eight reds in Premier League Manchester derbies have been given to United defender for getting in his way this time though.
He simply flapped at Martial’s deflected cross and directed the ball straight at Henrikh Mkhitaryan about 15 yards out.