An injury-time winner from Robin van Persie takes United six points clear at the top of the table, after one of the most eventful and entertaining games so far this season.
Rooney gave United the lead after only sixteen minutes . After a Manchester City attack had fizzled out the ball rolled to De Gea who threw out to Evra. The Frenchman then played the ball down the line to Young who headed to van Persie. RVP then played a through ball back to Young who charged at the City area before laying a ball to Rooney on the edge of the box. Rooney then took two touches before squirming a shot through Barry’s legs and into the bottom corner leaving Hart stranded.
Rooney doubled his tally only 13 minutes later. A clever ball from Valencia found the overlapping Rafael who pulled it back to an unmarked Rooney who made no mistake in placing the ball in the bottom corner of the net from just outside the six yard box. This goal was Rooney’s 150th in the Premier League and made him joint top scorer in Manchester derbies along side Eric Cantona.
Manchester United had executed their game plan perfectly – sit back and let City put them under pressure but when possible counter attack. Mancini’s side were regretting the departure of injured captain Vincent Kompany and surprise starter Mario Balotelli was struggling to make an impact.
Things were about to get worse for the Italian when his attempted back-heel just after the restart disgusted Mancini who turned around in dispair and waved Tevez to get warmed up. Ballotteli’s reaction to his substitution was all too predictable.
Just before the hour mark van Persie almost extended United’s lead to three when his curling effort from just inside the area hit the post and the attacking Ashley Young poked the rebound home. Young was judged to be offside when replays suggested he wasn’t. Manchester City immediately took the opportunity to counter attack. Tevez and Silva linked up cleverly and managed to work a great opportunity as Tevez’s first time shot was saved well by De Gea who only managed to palm the ball out to Silva. The keeper recovered well to block his fellow Spaniard’s close range effort. Luck didn’t seem to be on De Gea’s side when the ball bounced out to Tevez yet again who laid off Yaya Toure who drilled low leaving De Gea no chance.
The champions sensed they were back in the game and were incredibly unlucky not to be level when David Silva’s shot skimmed De Gea’s shoulder and cannoned behind off the crossbar.
The equaliser finally came in the 85th minute. United could only half-clear Tevez’s corner and Zabaleta, captain in place of the injured Kompany, was on hand to power the ball into the net from 12 yards.
The points were in the balance, but when Tevez brought down Rafael just outside the box you could sense this may be one last opportunity for somebody to grab a winner. As Robin van Persie stepped up to take the free-kick, Nasri flinched in the wall and appeared to try to hide behind Dzeko. The ball deflected off his flailing leg and curled passed a despairing Joe Hart to secure the three points for United.
Ugly scenes followed. The celebrating Rio Ferdinand appeared to be struck in the eye by a coin thrown by a member of the crowd and Joe Hart had to restrain a pitch invader who was headed for the United players. This marred an otherwise brilliant game of football between two title contenders and fierce rivals. City’s defeat leaves them with a lot of catching up to do but the title race is certainly not over yet.