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Van Persie writes blockbuster ending for United on Manchester's day of thunder

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Danny Welbeck of Manchester United looks on as Robin van Persie scores the winning goal past Joe Hart of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Danny Welbeck of Manchester United looks on as Robin van Persie scores the winning goal past Joe Hart of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

Actor Tom Cruise pitchside before kick-off during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

Actor Tom Cruise pitchside before kick-off during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

Martin Rickett

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with teammates as Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (left) stands dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with teammates as Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (left) stands dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

Martin Rickett

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates scoring his teams third goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates scoring his teams third goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

Dave Thompson

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Manchester City fans taunt the United fans at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Manchester City fans taunt the United fans at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Actor Tom Cruise (R) chats to Sky Reporter Geoff Shreeves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Actor Tom Cruise (R) chats to Sky Reporter Geoff Shreeves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Actors Robert Duvall (L) and Tom Cruise chat to Sky Reporter Geoff Shreeves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Actors Robert Duvall (L) and Tom Cruise chat to Sky Reporter Geoff Shreeves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Actor Tom Cruise (R) chats to Sky Reporter Geoff Shreeves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Actor Tom Cruise (R) chats to Sky Reporter Geoff Shreeves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  A Manchester City fan takes his seat early prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A Manchester City fan takes his seat early prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini shares a joke with Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson (L) prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini shares a joke with Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson (L) prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City tangles with Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City tangles with Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rafael of Manchester United competes with Mario Balotelli of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rafael of Manchester United competes with Mario Balotelli of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Tom Cleverley of Manchester United is challenged by Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Tom Cleverley of Manchester United is challenged by Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Joe Hart of Manchester City clears the ball under pressure from Ashley Young of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Joe Hart of Manchester City clears the ball under pressure from Ashley Young of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Tom Cleverley of Manchester United hurdles the tackle of Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Tom Cleverley of Manchester United hurdles the tackle of Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores the second goal to make the score 0-2 during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores the second goal to make the score 0-2 during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores the second goal to make the score 0-2 during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores the second goal to make the score 0-2 during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:   Samir Nasri of Manchester City is challenged by Patrice Evra of Manchester United and Tom Cleverley (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Samir Nasri of Manchester City is challenged by Patrice Evra of Manchester United and Tom Cleverley (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Actor Tom Cruise looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Actor Tom Cruise looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Actor Tom Cruise looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Actor Tom Cruise looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Actors Robert Duvall (L) and Tom Cruise chat to Sky Reporter Geoff Shreeves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Actors Robert Duvall (L) and Tom Cruise chat to Sky Reporter Geoff Shreeves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Ashley Young of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Ashley Young of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  A pitch invader is removed by stewards and police during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: A pitch invader is removed by stewards and police during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Joe Hart of Manchester City confronts a pitch invader during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Joe Hart of Manchester City confronts a pitch invader during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United celebrates the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United celebrates the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  David De Gea of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: David De Gea of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Patrice Evra of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates scoring the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates scoring the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United scores the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Robin van Persie of Manchester United scores the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:   Carlos Tevez of Manchester City and team-mate Gareth Barry look dejected after conceding a third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Carlos Tevez of Manchester City and team-mate Gareth Barry look dejected after conceding a third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United is helped by team-mate Danny Welbeck (L) after being struck by an object during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United is helped by team-mate Danny Welbeck (L) after being struck by an object during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Joe Hart of Manchester City confronts a pitch invader during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Joe Hart of Manchester City confronts a pitch invader during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City tangles with Michael Carrick of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City tangles with Michael Carrick of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City tangles with Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City tangles with Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Carlos Tevez of Manchester City and team-mate Gareth Barry look dejected after conceding a third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Carlos Tevez of Manchester City and team-mate Gareth Barry look dejected after conceding a third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Joe Hart of Manchester City confronts a pitch invader during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Joe Hart of Manchester City confronts a pitch invader during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United reacts after being struck by an object thrown from the crowd during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Patrice Evra of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  (L-R) Robert Duvall, Lee Child and Tom Cruise from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' with Ferran Soriano CEO of Manchester City attend the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Robert Duvall, Lee Child and Tom Cruise from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' with Ferran Soriano CEO of Manchester City attend the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Shirlaine Forrest

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Tom Cruise of Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' meets Manchester City staff while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Tom Cruise of Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' meets Manchester City staff while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Shirlaine Forrest

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  (L-R) Lee Child, David Oyelowo, Tom Cruise, Ferran Soriano CEO of Manchester City, Robert Duvall and Christopher McQuarrie from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' attend the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Lee Child, David Oyelowo, Tom Cruise, Ferran Soriano CEO of Manchester City, Robert Duvall and Christopher McQuarrie from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' attend the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Shirlaine Forrest

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Tom Cruise of Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' meets Manchester City staff while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Tom Cruise of Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' meets Manchester City staff while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Shirlaine Forrest

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Tom Cruise from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' greets Manchester City fans while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Tom Cruise from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' greets Manchester City fans while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Shirlaine Forrest

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Tom Cruise from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' greets Manchester City fans while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Tom Cruise from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' greets Manchester City fans while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Shirlaine Forrest

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Tom Cruise from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' greets Manchester City fans while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Tom Cruise from the Paramount Pictures film 'Jack Reacher' greets Manchester City fans while attending the Manchester derby as part of their European Tour at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Shirlaine Forrest

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Manchester City fans are held back by police at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Manchester City fans are held back by police at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City scores his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City scores his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Tom Cleverley of Manchester United wins the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Tom Cleverley of Manchester United wins the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Patrice Evra of Manchester United celebrates with Manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Patrice Evra of Manchester United celebrates with Manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is challenged by Michael Carrick of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is challenged by Michael Carrick of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Laurence Griffiths

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United is helped by team-mate Danny Welbeck (L) after being struck by an object during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United is helped by team-mate Danny Welbeck (L) after being struck by an object during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Ashley Young of Manchester United celebrates at the end of during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Ashley Young of Manchester United celebrates at the end of during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Pablo Zabaleta of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Clive Mason

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Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3: Oh, Manchester, so much to answer for: coins thrown, blood spilled, fans goaded and pitch invasions. But do not pretend that you did not enjoy every last tackle made, goal scored and harsh word exchanged in English football's new marquee fixture.

It goes without saying that if it turns out a supporter is charged with racist abuse then that is something we can all condemn. The blood streaming down Rio Ferdinand's face at the end, hit by a coin from the crowd, was not English football's finest hour. Yet none of that could detract from the compelling tension of a game that Manchester City wrestled back from their despised rivals only to lose to Robin van Persie's moment of brilliance in injury time.



Blood, sweat and jeers. Fear and loathing. Tom Cruise in the VIP seats. Manchester's day of thunder. It is remarkable that this Manchester United side find themselves six points clear at the top of the Premier League, a lead for which they can thank, in part, the poor form of City and Chelsea among others. Yesterday came down to the finest of margins, a Van Persie free-kick that struck Samir Nasri's shin on the way in, but there was so much more before then.



Mancini got it wrong by picking Mario Balotelli, a player to whom he offered another one of those apocalyptic post-match warnings about squandered talent and wasted careers. "I saw players in my life with fantastic quality and they did nothing," Mancini said in relation to his maverick striker at the end of the game. But this was not the time for advice, it was the time to win a derby match and Balotelli let his manager down.



Balotelli was eventually replaced by Carlos Tevez on 52 minutes, the man who should have started the game and City promptly responded with two goals that pulled them back into the match. By the end of it, with Tevez and the eternal substitute Edin Dzeko on the field, City might even have won the game. Certainly they looked a better side with Tevez on the pitch.



Granted it was Tevez who fouled Rafael da Silva for the free-kick from which Van Persie scored. But if any confirmation was needed of Balotelli's rotten attitude for a game like this, it was the moment that he walked off the pitch and went straight down the tunnel having stared belligerently at Mancini as he went. The striker seems unable to handle these big games, at least not on a consistent basis. This was a day for keeping your nerve.



Rooney picked City off with goals on 16 minutes, and then just before the half hour, In between then, Mancini replaced his injured captain Vincent Kompany with Kolo Touré who came on to charge around with all the unrestricted brio of a triallist playing for a contract. Kolo Touré did not react quickly enough for the second goal made by Antonio Valencia and Rafael on the right wing, and finished by Rooney.

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Before then United had broken brilliantly down the left for the first goal. Van Persie twisted to chest the ball to Ashley Young who cut inside from the touchline and picked out Rooney through a crowd of City legs. Rooney's shot was struck into the turf but he had done enough to deceive Joe Hart who seemed to be reading the striker's eyes rather than anticipating the unusual choice of a shot inside the left post.



At two-goals up, United looked dominant. They might even have had more while City's best chances in a good period for them at the start of the game were a distant memory. Balotelli had an awkward waist-high volley from Gaël Clichy's cross on 11 minutes, a difficult shot for any even the most gifted player, but you could not help but feel he might have done a better job than the blast into the crowd.



After the break Tevez was the game-changer for City and involved in the best of what they did. United should have had a third goal just before the hour. Van Persie hit the post and when the ball came out Young tucked in the rebound. He was played onside by Pablo Zabaleta, the linesman called it wrong and flagged. Having gone from a potentially unassailable position, United were dragged back into it.



Yaya Touré scored City's first after David de Gea had saved twice from Tevez and David Silva, the former of those two then cutting it back to City's barnstormer of a midfielder for his goal. No-one storms a barn quite like Yaya Touré, although his run on 73 minutes was one of the best. He beat Tom Cleverley, Rooney and Rafael before referee Martin Atkinson spoiled the party by calling play back for a foul by Rooney.



In the meantime, the game produced moment after moment. A tackle on Sergio Aguero by substitute Chris Smalling, on for the injured Jonny Evans, may have included a handball by the United man. A foul on Patrice Evra by Kolo Touré, increasingly resembling the prize bull let lose at a village fête, should have been a penalty judging by the replays.



Nevertheless, in those closing stages it seemed like City could win it. Silva's shot hit De Gea and then struck the bar. Then, with four minutes of regular time left, Zabaleta equalised with a low shot from a corner that clipped the substitute Phil Jones on its way in.



Then came Van Persie's winner, in off Nasri who did a poor job of trying to block it. A City supporter ran onto the pitch, making it as far as Ferdinand and then thinking better of it. The most half-hearted pitch invasion in history was brought to a close when Hart shepherded the fan away. United celebrated victory in front of their fans like they were taking the Premier League trophy home that day. That was how much it meant to them.



As he left the pitch, Jones resumed his exchange with a City fan holding up a sign designed to remind United of those painful last few minutes at Sunderland last season when they saw the league title slip through their hands. It was not as if these two sides had any shortage of aggravation between them before yesterday. They have a whole lot more now.


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