Thursday, April 15, 2010
ESPNsoccernet: April 16, 1:28 PM UK
Manchester derbies: Six of the best
Manchester City and Manchester United will lock horns on Saturday in what is one of the most hotly anticipated Manchester derbies in years. There have been plenty of feisty contests down the years, packed with memorable moments - but these are six of the best.
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1. United 4-1 City - August 27, 1957
It was not the final meeting of the two sides before the Munich Air Disaster - that match was a 2-2 draw at Maine Road in December 1957 - but it was a game in which the Busby Babes demonstrated their unquestionable talent in an Old Trafford derby for the last time.
Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Liam Whelan, Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor kicked off United's defence of their 1956-57 title in style, as goals from Edwards, Taylor, Johnny Berry and Dennis Viollet maintained the club's perfect start to the league season and highlighted the precocious side's desire to retain the league championship.
Five months later and United's gifted team was decimated on an icy runway in Munich, though the tragedy affected the blue half of Manchester too - former City goalkeeper-turned-journalist Frank Swift was among the victims of the disaster. City finished the season in ninth position, four places above a United side carried through the last three months of the season by a team of youngsters.
2. City 5-1 United - September 23, 1989
In a game that Sir Alex Ferguson has called his "most embarrassing defeat" as United manager, City taught Ferguson's side a footballing lesson at Maine Road and piled the pressure on the then under-fire Scot.
Current United assistant Mike Phelan was the Red Devils captain that day but could do nothing as David Oldfield scored twice with Ian Bishop, Trevor Morley and Andy Hinchliffe also on target, with Mark Hughes' spectacular volley only a consolation.
The game was marred by crowd trouble as fans invaded the pitch, forcing the players to leave the field for ten minutes at one point before returning after police had controlled the problem, but this was no excuse for United as they produced a shambolic defensive performance that was fully exploited by City.
3. United 5-0 City - November 10, 1994
The 1994-95 season was generally one of disappointment for United, what with Eric Cantona's infamous kung-fu kick and subsequent eight-month ban, a runners-up spot in the league to Blackburn Rovers and an FA Cup final defeat to Everton.
But the sour campaign was sweetened by a demolition job against the old enemy at Old Trafford, as United recorded their joint-biggest ever winning margin over their rivals. Cantona - who netted against City eight times in his career - opened the scoring with a sensational strike, taking the ball down from an Andrei Kanchelskis' long through-ball with a deft flick, before hammering home a left-foot strike.
Kanchelskis went on to bag himself a hat-trick, his third goal finishing off a penetrating counter-attack from a City corner, and Mark Hughes also scored as Brian Horton's side were run ragged.
4. City 3-1 United - November 11, 2002
In the final Manchester derby at Maine Road before City moved to their new home at Eastlands, Kevin Keegan engineered a first derby win for the Citizens since the 1989 triumph, and gained a measure of personal revenge against the club that beat his Newcastle United side to the league title in 1996.
Newly-promoted City fielded a side containing not a single Englishman but Keegan's charges battled hard and outplayed a lacklustre United, with Nicolas Anelka opening the scoring after five minutes when goalkeeper Fabien Barthez parried Shaun Goater's shot into his path.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer equalised for United, but the turning point would come when, to the universal satisfaction of the blue half of Manchester, die-hard red Gary Neville gifted Goater a goal when losing the ball on his own by-line. Goater added his second in the second-half to hand City the first of five wins in eight home games against United, as City appeared to have broken their 13-year derby curse.
5. United 1-2 City February 10, 2008
On an emotionally charged day at Old Trafford, a city was united in remembering the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster as both sets of fans impeccably observed a minute's silence for the victims of the 1958 tragedy before the game. But when the whistle blew for kick-off, United's players appeared to be overawed by the occasion and Sven Goran-Eriksson's side claimed a 2-1 victory and a first league double over their neighbours in 38 years, having also beaten United 1-0 at the City of Manchester Stadium earlier in the season.
United were expected to produce a performance that would evoke memories of the talented Busby Babes who perished in Munich but, kitted out in a 1958-style kit free of sponsor logos and player names, they struggled to make an impression. In the 25th minute Darius Vassell scored after a double save from Edwin Van der Sar and before half-time, Benjani had made it two, getting the deftest of headed flicks on Martin Petrov's free-kick.
Michael Carrick got a late consolation for an out of sorts United, but City held on to secure a first victory at Old Trafford since United hero Denis Law scored a back-heeled winner for the blue half of Manchester with his last ever touch as a professional footballer in 1974.
6. United 4-3 City - September 20, 2009
Mark Hughes' City side went into this season's reverse fixture high in confidence after recording five consecutive wins at the start of the season, including an impressive 4-2 victory over Arsenal at Eastlands the previous week. Aside from a 5-0 hammering of Wigan, United had flattered to deceive with many pointing to the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo as key to the uninspiring start - but this would be a day when United's new No.7 would steal the show.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring inside two minutes for the champions as they looked to extinguish the hype surrounding the return of Carlos Tevez and the new-look City's chances of usurping the Red Devils as Manchester's best team. Gareth Barry equalised for Hughes's side, but Darren Fletcher put United ahead again, before another leveller, this time from Craig Bellamy. Fletcher's second of the game with ten minutes to go looked to have wrapped up the points, but Bellamy was not to be outdone and after capitalising on a mistake from Rio Ferdinand, he sprinted through to snatch a 90th minute equaliser.
But there was to be one more twist in the tale in what had been a pulsating game of attacking football. Deep into stoppage time - five minutes and 28 seconds to be exact - Ryan Giggs threaded a through-ball to substitute Michael Owen and the former Liverpool striker prodded the ball past Shay Given to grab his first Old Trafford goal and send the United faithful into raptures as Ferguson's side stole all three points at the death.
Picking six of the best is an unenviable task, so here are some of the other Manchester derbies that are certainly worth a mention.
United 1-3 City - March 27 1968 - Two months before United became the first English club to lift the European Cup, Joe Mercer's City side recorded the first of five consecutive wins at Old Trafford, with the result keeping up City's momentum as they claimed the league title ahead of their city rivals.
United 0-1 City - April 27 1974 - Denis Law refused to celebrate after scoring City's winner over his former club and immediately walked off the pitch after realising that he had condemned United to certain relegation (though results elsewhere meant United would have gone down regardless).
City 3-3 United - October 27, 1990 - City looked to be home and dry after two goals from David White and one from Colin Hendry gave them a seemingly unassailable 3-1 lead with ten minutes remaining, but Brian McClair fired home twice to give United a share of the spoils.
City 2-3 United - November 7, 1993 - Three years later and City threw it away again. A brace from Niall Quinn put City 2-0 up but goals from the irrepressible Eric Cantona and an 87th minute winner from a certain Roy Keane turned things around.
City 2-3 United - April 6, 1996 - City had twice come from behind with goals from Mikhail Kavelashvili and Uwe Rosler equalising an Eric Cantona penalty and Andy Cole strike, before Ryan Giggs netted a 77th minute winner to give United a crucial three points in the title race.