20/09/2009 14:25, Report by Ben Hibbs
United 4 City 3
United deservedly won this pulsating derby in the high drama of injury time, but only after fans' nerves had been shredded after they let City back into the game three times. The Reds should have had it wrapped up, but with the scores locked at 3-3 after 90 minutes, Michael Owen chose the most opportune time to hit his first Old Trafford goal.
Rooney had given the Reds the lead, only for Tevez to capitalise on Foster's error and set up Gareth Barry's equaliser. Darren Fletcher then twice put United in front, but Craig Bellamy equalised on both occasions. That left substitute Owen to latch onto the outstanding Ryan Giggs' throughball and, in the sixth minute of injury time, poked home a brilliant winner.
It certainly was a game of two halves as, despite United's rapid start, City had most of the possession before the break. But the victory was wholly justified as United's second-half display was sheer class.
As the City players began their warm-up before the game, the boos that normally greet their visit were that little bit louder as Carlos Tevez had recovered from injury to make City’s starting XI. There was no place, of course, for the suspended Emmanuel Adebayor or the injured Robinho. Still, our blue neighbours would not entirely be deterred. Their 100 per cent start to the campaign, on the back of huge summer spending, has given rise to the belief (largely at Eastlands) that they are title challengers. At this stage at least, City are mere pretenders. And a large flag unveiled at the old scoreboard end before kick-off spelt it out simply, yet emphatically. Welcome to Manchester: 18 Premier League titles. 3 European Cups. 11 FA Cups. At the other end of the ground, the clock is clicking onto 34 years.
Sir Alex promised the game would be feisty, and that’s how it started. Tevez, typically tenacious, gave United an early fright when he blocked Ben Foster’s clearance, but from the resulting throw-in the Reds countered with