- Man City vs Man Utd

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Sunday 9 December 2012 | Etihad Stadium | Referee: Martin Atkinson | Attendance 47,166

Man City
  • Yaya Touré (60)
  • Pablo Zabaleta (86)
Man City
2 - 3
Man Utd
  • Wayne Rooney (16, 29)
  • Robin van Persie (90+2)
Man Utd

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Match report

To see the best pictures from the match, click on the box on the top left and scroll to “Photostream”. For manager reactions, scroll down.

Robin van Persie scored an added-time winner to give Manchester United a dramatic victory at the end of a pulsating Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

Two goals down to a first-half Wayne Rooney double, Manchester City thought they had snatched a point when Pablo Zabaleta followed up Yaya Toure's strike by driving in from the edge of a crowded penalty area five minutes from time.

But after Rafael had been fouled on the edge of the area, Van Persie's free-kick flicked off Samir Nasri on the edge of the wall before cannoning in off the far post.

Rooney's brace saw him jump to the top of United's scoring charts in Manchester derbies, his 10 goals taking him one clear of Sir Bobby Charlton.

United's defensive frailties have been obvious to everyone this term, so it came as something of a shock that City's rearguard was the topic of conversation at half-time.

Dominant during the opening 15 minutes, the Barclays Premier League champions were caught cold by the visitors' first attack, which was started deep in their own half by Patrice Evra.

Van Persie cushioned a delightful return pass from Ashley Young's flicked header, allowing the winger to drive over halfway and drill a low cross to the edge of the area for Rooney.

Surrounded by three City defenders, Rooney took the ball to his right before cutting a shot back to the near post that Hart had no chance of keeping out even if it was travelling at crawling pace.

City's concerns grew when Vincent Kompany was replaced by Kolo Toure and the makeshift defence conceded a second moments later.

This time the surge came from the right wing as Antonio Valencia found an overlapping Rafael with a perfectly-weighted pass which the Brazilian crossed into the danger zone.

Rooney, who had been allowed to gallop unopposed from his initial pass, could not believe the space on offer which allowed him to tuck his first-time shot beyond Hart, allowing him to become the sixth player – and the youngest – to score 150 Barclays Premier League goals.

Mario Balotelli, preferred up front to Carlos Tevez, was the subject of his manager's ire, yet Sergio Aguero was the one who had failed to control the Italian's through-ball when the scores were still level.

Aguero was also the player who took on the entire Red Devils defence single-handedly and squeezed a shot towards the corner which David de Gea did well to keep out.

Balotelli was replaced by Tevez early in the second half, before Ashley Young’s goal was ruled out for offside after he had tucked away the rebound from a right-footed Van Persie shot that had cannoned back off a post, and United were still digesting their disappointment as City countered to pull a goal back.

De Gea produced a brilliant double-save to deny Tevez and David Silva, but he was unable to keep out a third strike on goal from Yaya Toure, who calmly rolled Tevez's cut-back into the bottom corner.

It was the goal that lit the touchpaper for a thrilling finale, with tackles flying in from both sides as referee Atkinson desperately tried to keep control.

Van Persie headed Cleverley's cross over before De Gea somehow kept Silva's shot out at the other end when it flicked off his shoulder and onto the crossbar.

City had the momentum, though, and when Tevez's corner was half-cleared into Zabaleta's path, the Argentinian thrashed in a ferocious shot through the melee.

There was one final twist to come, however, as Van Persie stepped up to end City's 37-match unbeaten run on home soil and send United six points clear at the top.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "Today was a special one simply because they haven't lost at home for two years and both of us are contending at the top of the league.

"It was a fantastic game, you couldn't take your eyes off that. I thought we should have finished the game off. It's a funny game football. It should have been 3-0, then they go up and score.

"Football can kick you in the teeth that way. Then they scored the second goal and at that moment in time they deserved that. They came back, were fighting like hell, they gambled everything on the three strikers. But up to that point I thought we were far better than them."

"It [Van Persie’s free-kick] got a little deflection, but it was a tremendous hit. He's kept them on the back foot the whole time."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "I don't know what happened. I understood before it was dangerous, that free-kick, and we made a mistake by only putting three players in the wall. I called Carlos [Tevez] to come back into the wall but from the bench I was too far away.

"Even though we have lost this game we have shown we can win the title this year. It is clear, we need to work hard and stop making mistakes. We can't continue to go one or two goals behind because it is difficult to recover.

"We have a good spirit. Now we need to win four or five matches in a row.

"I love Mario [Balotelli] but it is important for him to start to think about his job. He has everything to play well but he can't continue to play like today. We wanted more from him.

"When you have a player that has Mario's quality, you cannot understand why he continues to throw it out of the window. It is incredible. I have seen players in my life with fantastic quality. But in the end, they did nothing. I don't want Mario to finish like these players. It would be bad for him."


Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Joe Hart - -
33. Matija Nastasic - -
4. Vincent Kompany - -
22. Gaël Clichy - -
5. Pablo Zabaleta - -
8. Samir Nasri - -
21. David Silva - -
18. Gareth Barry - -
42. Yaya Touré - -
45. Mario Balotelli - -
16. Sergio Agüero - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
28. Kolo Touré - -
3. Maicon - -
6. Joleon Lescott - -
30. Costel Pantilimon - -
10. Edin Dzeko - -
32. Carlos Tévez - -
14. Javi García - -
Line-up All Fans BFR
1. David De Gea - -
5. Rio Ferdinand - -
3. Patrice Evra - -
6. Jonny Evans - -
2. Rafael - -
18. Ashley Young - -
23. Tom Cleverley - -
10. Wayne Rooney - -
16. Michael Carrick - -
7. Antonio Valencia - -
20. Robin van Persie - -
Substitutes All Fans BFR
19. Danny Welbeck - -
22. Paul Scholes - -
50. Sam Johnstone - -
11. Ryan Giggs - -
4. Phil Jones - -
14. Javier Hernández - -
12. Chris Smalling - -

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