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The most memorable moments of the Manchester derby



Mario Balotelli produced a t-shirt celebration after scoring in Manchester City's 6-1 derby win at Manchester United in October 2011

Mario Balotelli produced a t-shirt celebration after scoring in Manchester City's 6-1 derby win at Manchester United in October 2011

Mario Balotelli produced a t-shirt celebration after scoring in Manchester City's 6-1 derby win at Manchester United in October 2011

Ahead of this weekend's Manchester derby, we thought we'd take a trip down memory lane and look back on a few of the standout moments from one of the Premier League's most anticipated fixtures.

Maine Road curtain call

Before Man City became the financial powerhouse they are today, they were underdogs, and well used to flitting between divisions.

In 2002, they had just secured their promotion to the Premier League and were on the brink of moving to the Etihad.

But before that, the stage was set for a fitting goodbye to their Maine Road ground and they welcomed United for the final derby at the venue. The Red Devils were without suspended captain Roy Keane, and stand-in skipper Gary Neville had a nightmare as his defence was terrorised by Nicolas Anelka.

City secured a 3-1 victory, and left Neville to rue the day as one of his worst in a united shirt.

Owen's heroics in Fergie time

Mark Hughes was at the helm for City, and he was keen for his new kids on the block to send a message of intent to United. City fought back to score three equalisers, Craig Bellamy's goal drawing them level in the 90th minute, and it looked as thought the sides would share the spoils.

With the officials indicating four minutes of injury time, it took united until the 96th to find the winner. Ryan Giggs threaded a pass through to Michael Owen, and the former Liverpool man scored his most famous goal for the Red Devils.

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Gary Neville lost it on the sidelines, the Old Trafford faithful went beserk, and Hughes was left fuming at the Fergie time that had been added on at the end.


Rooney's master acrobatics

Wayne Rooney scored some stunning goals during his time at Manchester United, but one that will be etched into the memories of all fans will be his overhead kick against City in 2011.

Meeting Nani's cross in the box, the England play-maker volleyed the ball with such precision that City keeper Joe Hart was left in no-man's land.

That goal proved to be the difference between the two sides, as United went on to secure a 2-1 victory, with a winner worthy of the Theatre of Dreams.


Wembley win

The first ever Manchester derby to take place in Wembley Stadium went down in history as the day City proved they weren't just the noisy neighbours anymore.

No derby passes without some tensions surfacing, and while Paul Scholes was sent off for a wild tackle on Pablo Zabaleta, Mario Balotelli invoked the fury of Rio Ferdinand after celebrating in front of united fans.

Yaya Toure's winner sent City sailing through to their first FA cup final in 30 years, and they went on to collect the trophy by beating Stoke City in the showpiece.


Why always me?

The first derby of the 2011/12 season ended in unbridled disaster for United.

Roberto Mancini’s men took their opponents apart on their own turf, firing in six goals to leave Fergie ruing his "worst ever day" in charge of the club.  To add salt to the wounds, City would go on to win the title on goal difference. But forget all that.

Stealing the show was Mario Balotelli.

The night before, Mario had the fire services visit his house at 1am after setting it on fire by letting fireworks off in his bedroom.

But it didn't seem to put him off, his side foot finish from the edge of the box opened the scoring for City, before Balotelli revealed that famous t-shirt, branded with three simple words - "why always me?"

Dennis Law's backheel

In April 1974, Dennis Law lined out with Manchester City against his former club United. Law spent 11 years with the red half of the city, scoring 237 goals in 404 appearances, and was once known as the King of Old Trafford. But times were changing for United, star players like Bobby Charlton and George Best were no more and Law moved over to City on a free transfer. Less than 12 months later he faced his former club, and when his late backheel found the net it sent United crashing out of the first division for the first time in 37 years.

Captain Kompany


Sergio Aguero's title-snatching 93rd-minute winning goal against QPR on the final day of the 2011/12 was possible the most dramatic end a Premier League campaign has ever had. But it was a moment made possible by a result City secured a fortnight earlier. Mancini's side had to beat United at the Eithad to go top of the league on goal difference, and take control of their own fate. Fittingly, it was captain Vincent Kompany who scored the winner. Two weeks later, Aguero wrote his name in football folklore.

Career ending Keane

Arguably one of the most unforgettable moments during a Manchester derby saw City's Afe-Inge Haaland's suffering a nasty tackle from Roy Keane back in 2001.

The challenge set Haaland on a trajectory that would see his career cut short, he played 48 more minutes before a recurring knee problem forced the Norwegian to call it quits on his football career.

When Keane was asked about it, he said he had no regrets and that it was payback for the way Haaland had abused him when he was playing for Leeds United.

Robin the hero

Fergie made it his last challenge as United boss to bring the Premier League title back to the red side of Manchester, and fate gave Robin van Persie the opportunity to have a decisive say.

After firing in 37 goals for Arsenal the season before, the Dutchman had a choice of City or United, and despite the £300,000 a week contract City offered him, he opted for United.

The first derby of the season saw United tear into a 2-0 lead courtesy of two goals from Wayne Rooney, but City pegged them back to 2-2 through Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta.

Enter Robin van Persie. His stoppage time free kick handed Sir Alex a 3-2 win, in what turned out to be his last derby at City, while setting United on course to winning the 2013 Premier League title.


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