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Man City 2-3 Man United

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Van Persie: Won derby for United

Van Persie: Won derby for United

Manchester United ended a thrilling derby against Manchester City with the bragging rights thanks to a last-gasp free-kick from Robin van Persie.

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The hosts dominated early on, but failed to take advantage of their superiority, Mario Balotelli testing David De Gea with a free-kick before skying a volley over the bar after a lovely assist from Gael Clichy.

City were soon made to pay for their profligacy, as Wayne Rooney scored a soft goal against the run of play.

The striker directed the ball into the corner of the goal with a scuffed shot that trickled over the line, with Joe Hart caught napping.

It got worse for Roberto Mancini's side as they failed to cope with United's dominance on the wings and Rooney took advantage of some more sloppy defending to double his tally for the afternoon.

This time he steered the ball into the same corner after connecting with a cross from Rafael.

City started the second half with renewed impetus and the tone of the game changed when Mancini hauled off the ineffective Balotelli, switching him for a lively Carlos Tevez.

It didn't take long for the improved movement and pace injected by Tevez to pay dividends, Yaya Toure calmly sidefooting the ball into the bottom corner after a good double save from De Gea in the build-up.

Just moments before that goal, the visitors had a goal perhaps wrongly ruled out for offside, Ashley Young appearing to be marginally onside, but City deserved their goal and the second that followed in the 86th minute.

Pablo Zabaleta was the man to score it, slamming a rocket of a shot past De Gea from a Tevez corner.

It looked like that was going to be the end of the afternoon's drama, but Van Persie had the last laugh, scoring with a deflected free-kick which took a flick off Samir Nasri before finding the corner of the net.

There were some ugly scenes at the end when a coin, or some other missile, hit Rio Ferdinand, but that shouldn't detract from what was a fine game of attacking football that leaves United with a six-point lead at the top of the table.

Posted: 09/12/12 16:14

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