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Manchester Derby Delight: Top Five Derby Moments Down The Years

The Manchester Derby is always a big occasion.  And now that it is a more regular fixture, the excitement and nerves come more frequently. Everyone has their own favourite memory of the meetings with ‘that lot on the other side of the City’ and I am going to run through my own personal ones at Old Trafford, starting with this;

Manchester United 4-2 Manchester City – 14th February 2004

Valentines Day, and what a day it was. FA Cup Fifth round day, and the Gods had drawn the two sides together at Old Trafford. It was a fierce and ferocious game that saw six goals and a red card and ultimately a United win.

A low-key first half saw City’s Icelandic Goalkeeper Arni Arasen (who?) save well from Roy Keane before Paul Scholes popped up and fired United into the lead. But just four minutes later, chaos ensued. Gary Neville dived under challenge from Michael Tarnat and an incensed Steve McManaman took exception to the full backs actions. Before you knew what was happening, Neville stuck his head in, and was given his marching orders after the brawl that ensued.

Fortunately it proved insignificant. Goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy (two) and Cristiano Ronaldo (all three tap ins) sandwiching replies from Michael Tarnat and Robbie Fowler cemented victory for the Red Devils. And a flurry of big saves from one Tim Howard stopped City from taking advantage of their man advantage.

Manchester United 3-1 Manchester City – 27th January 2010

Another Cup game and another thrilling night at Old Trafford. A 2-1 defeat in the first leg of the League Cup Semi Final at the Emptihad meant Sir Alex Ferguson and his men needed to win by two clear goals to make it to the final and another chance of a trophy. But United being United, it wasn’t done the easy way.

Old Trafford was a cauldron of noise and passion for the visit of Roberto Mancini’s side bidding to make a first Wembley show piece in 29 years. Edwin van der Sar was in magnificent form ensuring the scores were level at half time. And early in the second half, Paul Scholes again gave United the lead with an effort from the edge of the area.

Michael Carrick made it two with under 20 minutes left to play, but Carlos Tevez (it had to be him) replied on 76 minutes to bring the aggregate scores level. Flare ups were commonplace. Craig Bellamy (it’s difficult to sympathise with him) the centre of all (usually on the receiving end) with Rio Ferdinand catching him in the face before the Welsh man was felled by a coin-bottle combination from the stands.

With extra time looming, something had to give. And it did. Wayne Rooney – in the form of his life – latched on to a Ryan Giggs corner and capitalised on shoddy City defending in front of the Stretford End and headed United into the Final in the dying seconds.

Manchester United 3-1 Manchester City – 9th December 2006

The season where Ronaldo and Rooney really clicked. A 3-1 win for United and a testament to the partnership the two players had forged.

Goals from Wayne Rooney (after five minutes), Louis Saha and Cristiano Ronaldo gave United the win that day. And Hatem Trabelsi scored a brilliant goal for City in a dominant display for the home side.

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City – 12th February 2011

Another victory (of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be included) and another moment of individual brilliance from Wayne Rooney. A 2-1 win and one of the best goals ever scored at Old Trafford.

Tense and horrible sum this Premier League encounter up perfectly. And United were the ones to break the deadlock. Brilliant work by Wayne Rooney to knock a van der Saar clearance on to Nani, who escaped Pablo Zabaleta and slotted home past Joe Hart. City replied with a bit of fortune, David Silva deflecting in an Edin Dzeko shot off his back, and it was 1-1.

Then came the fireworks. On 78 minutes Nani picked the ball up out wide on the right, he cut in and (via a deflection) crossed. And showing awesome athleticism Rooney threw himself into the air and unleashed an incredible bicycle kick beyond the stunned Joe Hart. Cue delirium.

Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City – 20th September 2009

Love him or hate him, Michael Owen has provided one of the greatest Derby moments in history.

Never before has a football match made me go through the emotions quite like this, from hatred (of Rio Ferdinand) to love and adulation (Owen) I went through them all. Wayne Rooney put United in front early on, but a mistake from Ben Foster allowed Gareth Barry to level. United were again handed the initiative by Darren Fletcher who bagged himself a brace, only for United to be pegged back by one sensational strike and two horrible mistakes (Ferdinand couldn’t chip Wright-Phillips and Foster sold himself) allowed Craig Bellamy to repeat the feat.

The second Bellamy goal came on the stroke of 90 minutes, and as he took 4 minutes celebrating, extra was added on. And United received a free kick in the extra minutes for celebrating. A poor ball in fell to Ryan Giggs and all of Old Trafford saw Michael Owen in acres. All including Giggs. Hot knives and butter spring to mind as the ball fell to Owen, who showed incredible composure to win it for United. 4-3.

Any repeat of this on Sunday and it might well finish me off. But I would never complain. Let’s hope there are more memories to be made this weekend, and another United win.

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