United Edge Seven Goal Derby Spectacular
Sunday 20th Sept 2009, 1.30pm
A thrilling game between the two adversaries saw a total of seven goals and was sealed in the 96th minute by Micheal Owen.
City will have every right to feel aggrieved after referee Martin Atkinson allowed an extra two minutes on top of the four minutes of added time shown on the board, the extra minutes allowing United to score the winner- Martin Atkinson and fourth offical Alan Wiley, seen jesting with Alex Ferguson about the mystery added time, have some serious explaining to do.
Two goals from Fletcher and one each from Rooney and match winner Owen provided United with their plethora of goals, while a strike from Barry and a brace from Bellamy provided City with theirs.
The 152nd Manchester derby saw fourth placed Manchester City take on Manchester United at Old Trafford. The visitors kicked off to the start of what would be an epic clash but were behind after only two minutes of the first-half.
Wayne Rooney squirmed through a sleeping City defense and slotted the ball past Given after Micah Richards had failed to deal with the threat of Evra who burst down the wing to set up the goal.
United pushed on after taking the lead while Mark Hughes` side appeared rattled after the early blow.
Carlos Tevez`s return to his former club was inevitably going to be met with a hostile reception and his first touch of the ball was met with a chorus of boos which echoed through round the Salford based clubs decrepit stadium like a foul wind through a graveyard.
On 14 minutes the home side had a glimmer of a chance to increase their lead through the talented but lazy Berbatov, the Bulgarian failing to keep his shot down from 25 yards out.
That warning shot fired Manchester City into action and within minutes they were on level terms with their bitter rivals and the current Premier League champions.
Lescott hit a hopeful ball forward and United keeper Foster came out to collect it just outside his area. Tevez seized his opportunity, dispossessing the lumbering keeper and setting up Barry for a cool finish and an excellent response from going behind.
If Foster has any hopes of wearing the England number one jersey, he has just watched his dream fly away through the back of his net, terrible mistake from the stand-in keeper.
From this point on, the visitors dominated the proceedings and Tevez was seeing more and more of the ball, much to the annoyance of those who had once been begging him to stay. He was awarded a yellow card for a late tackle and that was the last cheer the home fans would utter as City finished the half in preeminence.
Mark Hughes` side were becoming increasingly dangerous and Argentinean international Tevez almost added a kick in the teeth before the end after a quick break down the left saw a low cross across the box, past Ireland who played a clever dummy and straight to an unmarked Tevez who hit the post with Foster rooted to the spot.
A real opportunity wasted by the tricky striker, United extremely lucky to go in at the break at one-a-piece.
Half-time: Manchester United 1 Manchester City 1
Manchester United kicked off and immediately set the pace once again, restoring their lead just four minutes of the second-half through Darren Fletcher after Gareth Barry failed to deal with the danger.
A great save by Given denied Giggs moments later and City are having to withstand heavy pressure.
In true derby fashion City hit back through Craig Bellamy with a fantastic goal, the Welshman cut inside from the left and unleashed a shot worthy of the prestige of the game in which it was struck in.
To be fair to United they didn't fall apart like they did after City scored in the first-half and they saw the better of the chances fall to them, Giggs and Rooney both spurning opportunities to score.
In the 66th minute Berbatov should have made the break-through, his header well saved by Given following a United corner.
Minutes later Lescott denied Rooney while Given made two great saves to deny certain goals from Berbatov and Giggs.
In the 80th minute Alex Ferguson's side took a deserved lead through another Fletcher goal.
Giggs crossed a superb ball into the box, Fletcher heading past the helpless Shay Given who had being doing so well to keep the home side at bay.
Mark Hughes replaced Nigel de Jong with Martin Petrov in the 83rd minute as he looked to get City back on level terms.
The attacking sub immediately gave the visitors the extra attacking threat they needed and they looked a different side to the one which had been failing to create anything for the past 20 minutes.
In the 88th minute Wright-Phillips' shot was turned around the post by Foster following a quick counter-attack, City looking increasingly dangerous once again.
As the game went into added time, who else to create some derby magic but Craig Bellamy.
The outspoken striker pounced on a poor mistake from Ferdinand, rounded the awful Ben Foster and turned the ball home for a grandstand finish to an epic encounter. 3-3 the scoreline and fourth official Alan Wiley signals four minutes of added time to play!
A final push from United gave them a corner, the outstanding Given managed to clear the initial ball in but it managed to find its way to Rooney, the England international firing over and denying his side the winner.
Full-time:... Wait... No... Martin Atkinson has decided to play on. Is his watch broken?
What a surprise, Micheal Owen grabs a winner in the SIXTH minute of the four minutes of injury time. Well taken by the injury plagued striker but a bitter blow for Mark Hughes' side.
This game went down to the wire and although a draw would have been a fair result, and arguably the correct result, the footballing elite will no doubt recognise that Manchester City's money is backed up by real substance.
Full-time: Manchester United 4 Manchester City 3
Goals: Rooney 2' Fletcher 49', 80' Owen 90+6' (Manchester United) Barry 16' Bellamy 52', 90' (Manchester City)