With both sides without their major midfield players; David Silva, Paul Pogba,Juan mata, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are among the other players missing due to injury, they played out a draw.
The draw was in much favour to 10 men Manchester united and a frustrating night to the host team. It was much more a plan result from Mourinho as Manchester United have equalled their record for the longest unbeaten run within a single top-flight season (24 games).
Yet it is a result that does little to boost either side’s hopes of finishing in the top four and securing a place in next season’s Champions League, with City remaining one point and one position clear of fifth-placed United.
Pep Guardiola’s team were the dominant force throughout and should have taken the lead as early as the ninth minute, but the clinical instinct that has seen Sergio Aguero net in each of his last six outings deserted him as he struck the upright from close range.
Mourinho’s side failed to maintain their counter-attacking threat in the second half and City were unable to unlock the stoic United defence – the loss of David Silva to injury in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat proving influential.
Claudio Bravo, who endured a horror debut at Old Trafford last September, was a spectator for much of the second half and went off on a stretcher with a left calf injury in the 79th minute – the first of a series of dramatic closing events.
After Fellaini’s dismissal, substitute Gabriel Jesus thought he had marked his first appearance since February 13 with a stoppage-time winner, only to turn and see the offside flag correctly raised.
Fellaini’s moment of madness handed City a boost in their quest for a late equaliser, but Jesus’ tap-in from a cross by Aguero – who volleyed wide at the death – was correctly ruled out as the spoils were shared.
Despite failing to open up a four-point gap on their fifth-placed opponents, City will feel more confident of securing a return to European football’s top table next season due to a comparatively easier run-in.
In the end the result favours like of arsenal who are four points behind Manchester United with two games on hand and likes of Liverpool who are hoping to retain their third position on the table but should united or arsenal or city win their remaining games, they would be dispossessed of their Position.