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From the Vault: Best Manchester derbies of all time

Krishnan Ram
Top 5 / Top 10
1.20K   //    08 Dec 2012, 16:53 IST

The all awaited Manchester derby is finally here. The intensity of this derby has increased over the years as the blue side of Manchester has grown in prominence and strength all thanks to the multi-millions invested by Sheikh Mansoor. The tussle between the Manchester clubs in the league dates back to 1894 when the first derby was played in Hyde Road, a match won 5-2 by the Red Devils. As time progressed, the red side of Manchester rose to become a super power in English football while the blue side were just the old “noisy neighbours”. City actually have a better record in the derby since their return to the Premier League in 2002. 9th December 2012 will see the 148th time that these two teams are clashing in the League and the 31st time since the Premier League format commenced. Ahead of the clash, here is a look at the top 5 Manchester derbies of all time.

7. 27 April 1974- Manchester United 0-1 Manchester City – Law’s strike relegates United

This was a match and a season to forget for Manchester United fans as the club got relegated due to the defeat at the hands of their noisy neighbours. The lone goal was scored for the blues by Denis Law. The man who started his career with City had played for Manchester United for 11 seasons. After scoring 237 times for United, he was one of the Holy Trinity and had been immortalized at Old Trafford. He returned to City for one last season and his cheeky back heel sent the Red Devils to the second division. As expected, Law did not celebrate the goal and was so distraught that City subbed him off immediately. The game was played only till the 85th minute as the fans ran on to the pitch.

6. 21 April 2001 – Manchester United 1 – 1 Manchester City – Roy Keane sees red

This match is known for the personal revenge taken by the then United captain Roy Keane on City defender Alf-Inge Haaland. The Norwegian is often remembered for his feud with Keane which grew during his day at Leeds. In 1997, Keane injured his anterior cruciate ligament as a result of Haaland’s challenge and the defender criticised Keane for faking the injury. Keane took his revenge on Haaland as he went into a challenge with the defender and purposely stamped on his right knee. Keane was simply fined £5,000 and received a three-match ban.

5. 23 September- 1989- Manchester City 5-1 Manchester United – Massacre of Maine Road

This was the second Manchester Derby for Sir Alex as the manager of Manchester United and the result was a morale shattering 5-1 defeat to City. United had spent a lot of money on the squad revamp that summer, while City had had their worst start to a season in more than 9 years. They had been knocked out of the League cup by Brentford the previous week. The game began with a fight between fans of both the clubs as a result of which the start was delayed by 10 minutes. City raced ahead to a 3 goal lead in the first half and “Fergie Out” chants could be heard from the United faithful in the second half. The single United goal came from Mark Hughes scoring a wonderful bicycle kick.


4. 10 November 1994 – Manchester United 5 – 0 Manchester City – Revenge of the Red devils 

Manchester United fans will be dying to see a repeat of this scoreline against their neighbours during this weekend’s game. This game saw speedy winger Andre Kanchelskis score a superb hat-trick as United tore the City side to bits. This was tipped as a revenge for the defeat inflicted by City in 1989.

3. 20 September 2009 - Manchester United 4 – 3 Manchester City

The game saw one of the most dramatic finishes to the Manchester Derby as Micheal Owen came off the bench to score in the 6th minute of injury time, his first for United at Old Trafford. It was Carlos Tevez‘s return to Old Trafford after his switch from the Red side to the blue side of Manchester. Wayne Rooney started the proceedings for United with a goal in the second minute which was then nullified by Gareth Barry, owing to a mistake by goal keeper Ben Foster. Two goals each by Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy saw the game locked at 3-3 after 90 minutes. The then City manager Mark Hughes was agitated at the amount of injury time given as he saw his hopes of a draw ruined by Owen’s strike at the death.

2. 12 February 2011 –  Manchester United 2 – 1 Manchester City – Wonder boy’s wonder strike

AON, Manchester United’s shirt sponsor, would never even have dreamt about such an advertisement of their company as their name flashed across screens worldwide after Wayne Rooney’s astonishing overhead kick which defied the laws of gravity. This goal came after Nani had opened the scoring for United just before the break and Edin Dzeko equalized for the visitors soon after the restart. Rooney’s goal was voted the best goal in the 20 Premier League seasons.

1. 23 October 2011- Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City – Blues demolish the Red devils

Exactly 22 years and a month after the 5-1 win of 1989, City inflicted the heaviest defeat on Manchester United in a derby game and their worst home defeat since 1955. This was a match to forget for United as City ran riot on the Red brigade. Mario Ballotelli scored a brace and Johnny Evans saw red immediately after the commencement of the 2nd half. Darren Fletcher scored a superb goal from outside the box as United went down with a fight despite being a man down. This was United’s heaviest defeat in Premier League.

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Krishnan Ram
Jack of all trades, master in European football. A management grad, Manchester United fanatic with a dream of viewing a game sitting in the Old Trafford dug out. Respect all other teams and players. Providing the best and unbiased news and views on the beautiful game.
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