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Recent Manchester derby moments

The Manchester derby is soaked in history. From the early days of giant floodlighting to Sir Alex Ferguson labelling Manchester City the ‘noisy neighbors’ to the English version of the Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho rivalry, this derby is one of the best in football. Wayne Rooney is the leading goal scorer of the rivalry, and Carlos Tevez is arguably the most hated player of the Red Devils’ supporters. Below are my top five derby moments of the past decade:

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5: Pep Guardiola versus Jose Mourinho I – 10th September 2016

The same year Pep Guardiola took over our most hated rival, Manchester City, the hierarchy of Manchester United sacked the eccentric Louis van Gaal for legendary special one, Jose Mourinho. These two managers had blood rivalries in Spain as the leaders of Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively. The first Manchester Derby between them was always going to be epic in all proportions. This inaugural derby between them spared no expenses. Guardiola was taking over a better squad and had the advantage of a slightly more talented team, while Mourinho was able to bring in a few players but his squad still needed another transfer window. Mourinho, gambling on his experiences in the Premier League, was beaming with confidence. Unfortunately for us, two early goals from Manchester City put us in a deficit we were unable to overcome. Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled one back for us, but we ultimately ended up losing 2-1. However, it was the intensity of the derby that truly stole the spotlight. After watching this match, everyone knows that the Derby has reclaimed its mojo and will continue to be the centerpiece of football rivalries in the upcoming seasons!

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4: Manchester United thumped 6-1 – 21st October 2011

Perhaps the most lopsided victory in recent memory, City fans remember this one and United fans are keen to forget. Coming into the game as champions of England, United were simply outplayed to the tune of allowing six goals. Manchester United had not allowed six goals at Old Trafford in 80 years. City came out firing making Mario Balotelli seem like the complete package. The second half resurrection failed as Jonny Evans was sent off, reducing the Red Devils to ten men. The goals poured in. Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko subbed off in and bagged two goals. For City, the slaughtering gave them the record for the largest margin of victory in the derby history.

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3: Rio Ferdinand struck by coin thrown from the crowd – 9th December 2012

Wayne Rooney’s brace led to The Red Devils seeking a comfortable win over our arch rivals. City eventually came back and tied the game up through strikes from Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta. After winning a free kick in the 86’ minute, Robin van Persie powered in a shot that deflected off a City defender to ripple the back of the neck. Seemingly, the dramatic goal won the game. However, the drama came after the goal. While celebrating with his game-winning strike, Rio Ferdinand was struck by a flying object in the face. After collecting his pain, Ferdinand rose up from the ground to give the away supporters and live camera’s a glimpse of blood running down his forehead. Clearly heated and agitated, matters got worse. A fan ran onto the pitch, clearly to confront Ferdinand and cause him even more harm. However, City goalkeeper Joe Hart intervened and refused to let the supporter attack (or get put down by) his international teammate. In rare cases, the play on the field becomes irrelevant and players are put into dangerous situations. In this incident, it was refreshing to see United enemy no. 1, Joe Hart, defend the ever lovable Ferdinand. In this derby, the dramatic late game-winner was overshadowed by ignorance and stupidity from a few City supporters.

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2: Scholes triumphantly returns – 8th January 2012

In 2011, meeting for the second time of the season under the FA Cup tournament, The Reds handed City a bit of payback for the early-season thumping United had received. After Rooney opened the affair with a vicious header, City centre-back Vincent Kompany was sent packing with a red card. The flood gates opened up. Manchester United achieved a 3-0 lead headed into the locker room at halftime. Due to a devastating string of injuries within the squad, United lacked depth and many players were playing hurt. Paul Scholes, ever loyal to Old Trafford, decided to come out of retirement to help his old teammates. Making the match day squad, few people had faith he’d touch the pitch. After City fought back to the tune of two goals in the second half, Sir Alex knew a change was needed. He pulled the hard-working Nani off, and inserted Scholes to control the game. With Scholes making his return, albeit short, United were able to hold off those noisy neighbors!

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1: THAT Goal! – 12th February 2012

In the 2010-2011 season, the derby was played three times. A win for both squads and a draw as well. In Manchester United’s victory, the match was marked by something magical. A kick that will leave its stamp on history. Rooney put foot to ball in a play that defied physics and stayed as the top highlight on ESPN’s Sportscenter program for multiple months. That season, Manchester City had spent millions to improve their squad and give the allusion of eliteness within the world football community. In February the traveled to Old Trafford with hopes of putting in a winning performance. Following a Nani goal in the first half, City striker Edin Dzeko smashed one in to level the scoreboard. In the 77th minute, and after both teams seemed to have accepted a draw, Nani made a quick cut to the outside on the right-wing. Putting in a swirling cross, he was hoping Wayne Rooney or someone else would find the end of it. Fortunately, not knowing at the exact moment, City defender Pablo Zabaleta’s deflected the cross with his shoulder, rocketing the ball into the air. Rooney made his move. Noticing the cross was now falling behind him, he adjusted and made a spectacular play. Jumping in the air, his body parallel to the ground, he thumped the ball over his head. Upon landing, I don’t think Rooney realized the monumental impact of this decision. The ball had powered through the City defence and into the back of the net. The keeper had no chance. This goal won the game. But it was bigger than that. Now a cult classic, this goal will go down is one of the greatest in Manchester United’s history.

Written by Jordan Bullock

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