Barclay’s English Premiership
Sunday 20 September 2009, 13:30 KO
City: Given, Richards, Lescott, Touré (c), Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Barry, de Jong (Petrov 82), Bellamy, Tevez
Unused: Taylor, Zabaleta, Weiss, Sylvinho, Garrido, Ball
Goals: Barry (15), Bellamy (51, 90)
Booked: Tevez, Bellamy
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Nigel de Jong
A City defeat in the first Manchester derby of the season left Mark Hughes fuming after United scored the winner in the seventh of just four added minutes. The City manager was without a tall centre-forward, with Adebayor suspended and Santa Cruz injured, but Carlos Tevez was fit to start.
And it was a bad start for City, who had barely touched the ball when Given was forced to pick the ball out of the net. A well timed tackle from Richards gave United a throw in, which was quickly taken. The ball found its way to Rooney in the box and he poked the ball past Given from close range.
It was the first time City had gone behind all season, and they seemed to take a while to adjust, as United continued to press. Despite the pressure, though, Given was never called upon to make a save.
But as City found their feet, they found an equaliser. A long ball forward was chased by Tevez, who caught Foster in possession outside his area. The former United-man then laid the ball to Barry who slotted it into the empty net, from the edge of the box for 1-1.
The game became something of a midfield battle, with City generally coming out on top. That being said, neither goalkeeper was called into action, in a match that had become littered with free kicks.
Vidic picked up a yellow card for a cynical foul on Wright-Phillips, after the winger had carried the ball from his own half and was bearing down on the United box.
The next real chance fell for Carlos Tevez at the Stretford end, when a fine break from defence by Toure found the Argentine in the box. But his shot beat Foster and hit the post.
Bellamy then smashed a free kick towards the United goal from 30 yards, with the rebound off Tevez falling to Lescott, who skied his shot with his wrong foot. The half finished with City the stronger and perhaps unfortunate to go in level.
But as well as they ended the first half, City started the second in the same manner as they started the game. Fletcher beat Barry in the air from a Giggs cross and nodded the ball past Given, who looked to have misjudged it, thinking it going wide. United in the lead and not really deservedly so.
Park and Giggs both had good chances, Park firing over from 12 yards and Giggs forcing a good save from Shay Given.
And City were in no mood to roll over and die. Bellamy found himself in possession of the ball on the left side of the United box. He cut inside and fired in an unstoppable, right-footed effort that found the top corner superbly.
But from the restart, the second half was all United. City had Given to thank just after the hour mark, when he made two world class saves from two Dimitar Berbatov headers. The first, from a corner, was point blank and the second as the Bulgarian headed towards an empty net – but Given was on top form to push them away.
It then took Shay Given’s fingertips to deny Ryan Giggs a goal, when his powerful drive from outside the box was turned over the bar by the City keeper.
But then, with 15 minutes to go, a dubious free kick is crossed into the City box and Darren Fletcher gets his second headed goal of the game, as Barry failed to get off the floor. There were question marks about the free kick and the City defending.
Mark Hughes went for broke with just under 10 minutes to go, throwing on Petrov for the more defensively-minded de Jong. But it was United pushing, with Anderson curling an effort wide, as gaps appeared in the City defence.
With three minutes to go, Wright-Phillips forced Foster into a save at his near post, before Richards was unable to tap a Petrov low cross into the net.
But, as Ferdinand looked to try and play a cocky and ill-advised pass, Petrov intercepted and set Bellamy free. The Welshman carried the ball past Ferdinand, around Foster and slotted it in from a very tight angle in the first of four added minutes.
City’s delight suddenly turned to anger, though, as the referee played two minutes more than he had added on, giving Michael Owen the chance to score from close range, as he gave the City defence the slip.
Mark Hughes was furious with the fourth official, as United won the game in the 96th minute, despite there being no call from either physio. Nevertheless, off the back of this game, City showed they are no pushovers – few teams will score three goals at Old Trafford this season and come away with nothing. City were very unlucky, United, though, just shaded it.