Date:Sunday September 20 2009
The best Manchester derby I've ever seen. Granted, we were majestic in the 5-0 win at Old Trafford and there was great drama when we came back from two behind but this tops them all.
Well, mostly because United insisted on digging City out of a hole every time we managed to push them into it. We started excellently, with a sharp finish from Rooney to put us in front. And we did not stop: we played at a high tempo, we pressed them, we tested them.
But this initial exuberance vanished quickly and not long after the first quarter of an hour passed, City were level thanks to an astonishing howler from Ben Foster who does not look like capable of being consistently good. And the goal killed us: for the remained of the first half, the football was turgid and it was City who almost took the lead when Tevez raced clear and hit the post from 13 yards.
But the second half. Well, that was magnificent, magnificent on the grand scale. United started brightly and snatched the lead again with a powerful header from Fletcher. Once again, we did not stop and created two more chances before disaster struck again: nobody bothered to make an effort of closing Bellamy down and he unleashed a quite gorgeous shot into the far corner.
United, in response, camped themselves in the City half for half an hour but an inspired Given saved just about everything: Berbatov's two firm headers, Giggs' close-range chance, Giggs' volley - but he could not save Darren Fletcher's header when the absolutely magnificent Ryan Giggs whipped in a freekick in the 81st minute.
But it still wasn't over. Richards missed a great chance to equalise then Rio carelessly gave the ball away to let Bellamy to race clear on the left and slot the ball home from a very, very difficult angle. Foster should have covered it better but the biggest part of the blame goes to Rio Ferdinand here.
In the meantime, the fourth official put up the board to show there will a MINIMUM of four minutes of added time. City celebrations lasted a minute and Fergie, somewhat surprisingly, made a substitution in the 92nd minute, introducing Carrick for Anderson. But still it was a bit baffling why the referee allowed us to play well into the 96th minute - and it was 95:28 when Giggs brought down a headed ball, threaded a beautiful pass to the unmarked Owen who slotted home coolly.
Oh God. I barely remember anything from the next few minutes, vaguely recall that a few men jumped on top of me, yelling in delight and I seem to remember that I did not mind it in the slightest. It was well worth signing Michael Owen just for this priceless moment. Cocky City, barely out of their own half for the entire second half, were put to their rightful place.
Date:Sunday September 20 2009
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|Man Utd||3||-||0||Hull City|
|Man Utd||1||-||0||Crystal Palace|
|2. Man City||16||11||3||2||+19||36|
|3. Man Utd||16||9||4||3||+12||31|
|4. West Ham||16||8||4||4||+8||28|
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