By Lee Savery
A stoppage time free-kick from Robin van Persie gave United the win in the Manchester derby that also included a brace for Wayne Rooney.
The result now means United have gone six points clear at the top of the Premier League as they continue their quest in regaining the Premier League title. Championships aren’t won in December but the Red Devils have certainly laid down a marker with this result which was City’s first home league defeat in nearly two years.
Despite early City domination, it was a superb United counter-attack, down the left-hand side involving Patrice Evra, Robin Van Persie & Ashley Young before Rooney took it onto his right foot and scuffed it into the bottom corner leaving Joe Hart watching it slowly roll into the net. Not a clean finish but it was much needed for the Red Devils, on 16 minutes, as they settled and really got at City.
Just before the half hour mark, Rooney would double his and United’s lead. Antonio Valencia and Rafael linked up well before the Brazilian crossed low to Rooney who slotted it past Hart. It was his 150th Premier League goal and equalled Eric Cantona’s record of scoring 7 goals in Manchester derbies. United were well on top.
The game turned on the hour mark with a poor decision by a linesman and a Manchester City goal. Young thought he had put United 3-0 after putting in a rebound from van Perise’s terrific bending shot that hit the post. The linesman incorrectly adjudged him to be offside. City broke and despite a double save from David de Gea, Yaya Toure slotted the ball into the bottom corner to get the home side back into the game.
They would draw level four minutes from normal time. A corner from the left wasn’t cleared and it fell to Pablo Zabaleta who drilled the ball through a crowd of players and into the same bottom corner the previous three goals had been scored.
With City looking the more likely, United were able to win a free-kick, 25 yards out, in stoppage time. Van Persie shot deflected off the leg of Samir Nasri before finding its way past the outstretched Hart.
United were elated, City frustrated which led to some unsavoury scenes with Rio Ferdinand, seemingly, being hit by an object from the crowd. The fall out from that will come in the next week or so for sure.
A big win for Manchester United with a team performance that was excellent throughout. There’s a still a long way to go but the bragging rights are certainly with the red side of Manchester tonight.
Man of the Match Poll & Player Ratings: Manchester City vs. Manchester United HERE.
Share your thoughts with the Stretford End Arising forum.