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Wednesday 27 August 2014

The five most gripping Manchester derby clashes ever

Published 24/03/2014 | 16:05

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Michael Owen of Manchester United celebrates scoring the winning goal in injury time during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City. Photo: Alex Livesey, Getty Images
Michael Owen of Manchester United celebrates scoring the winning goal in injury time during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City in 2009

Manchester United and Manchester City renew hostilities on Tuesday at Old Trafford in one of the most eagerly-anticipated derby matches of the season.

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Here, we look at five of the most gripping games between the two rivals.

CITY 2 UNITED 3 (December 9, 2012)

Robin Van Persie scored a dramatic late winner that sent United six points clear at the top of the table.

United had taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the first half thanks to a brace from Wayne Rooney. City asserted their dominance in the final 30 minutes, with goals from Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta putting the reigning champions level.

Deep into injury time, Van Persie sealed the three points when his free-kick deflected off Samir Nasri and flew beyond a stretching Joe Hart.

UNITED 1 CITY 6 (October 23, 2011)

City humiliated their neighbours at Old Trafford as they inflicted United's biggest derby defeat since January 1926. Roberto Mancini's side had gone into half-time with a 1-0 lead after Mario Balotelli's neat finish.

City then seized control following Jonny Evans' dismissal in the 47th minute as Balotelli added another and Sergio Aguero a third to seal the win with 20 minutes still remaining.

Darren Fletcher scored a fine consolation with a curling shot from 20 yards, which served only to inspire City further, as they scored three breakaway goals in four minutes of injury time to stun Old Trafford into silence.

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UNITED 4 CITY 3 (September 20 2009)

Michael Owen scored the winner deep into injury time to give United victory in what Sir Alex Ferguson labelled as "the best derby of all time".

The game started at a frantic pace, with Rooney netting in just the second minute before Carlos Tevez, back at his former club for the first time, levelled. Early in the second half, Darren Fletcher put United ahead with a header, before Craig Bellamy unleashed a thunderbolt from 25 yards that flew into the top corner to put City level again.

With just 10 minutes remaining, Fletcher scored once more although they were pegged back again by Bellamy's effort in the 90th minute. However, in the sixth minute of injury time - only four minutes had been signalled - substitute Owen expertly dispatched the ball to give United the three points and send Old Trafford into ecstasy.

UNITED 1 CITY 1 (April 21, 2001)

A game where United had already been crowned Premier League champions will forever go down in history as the occasion when Roy Keane planted a horror tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland, who never completed a full 90 minutes again.

In the dying moments of the game, Keane enacted revenge on Haaland for a feud that had started in 1998, when the United captain was accused of feigning an injury by then Leeds midfielder Haaland.

Keane's challenge - a high and late tackle which flattened the Norwegian - earned him a straight red card and the Irishman later wrote in his autobiography that he had "waited long enough for revenge".

Keane's admission that the tackle had been pre-meditated prompted the Football Association to hand him a further five-match ban and a £150,000 fine.

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UNITED 0 CITY 1 (April 27, 1974)

A Denis Law back-heel against his former club confirmed United's relegation from the First Division.

Coming into the game, United needed a win to avoid relegation, although they knew that if Birmingham beat Norwich they would be relegated regardless of their own result.

After 80 goalless minutes, the ball fell to Law. Unmarked on the six-yard line with his back to goal, he back-heeled the ball into the net to give City the lead and ultimately the points.

Realising the enormity of his goal, Law walked off the pitch with his head bowed and was immediately substituted on compassionate grounds.

The game was never actually finished as a pitch invasion by disgruntled United supporters meant the match was abandoned, but the Football League ruled that the result should stand.

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