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Manchester derbies are always eagerly-anticipated occasions for supporters but the latest instalment on April 30 promises to be extra special.
City are determined to win a first Premier League crown while United are hell bent on making their 'noisy neighbours' wait even longer.
Skysports.com here counts down ten of the greatest Manchester derbies of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, including cup clashes and extraordinary league fixtures.
Ferguson had only been appointed at Old Trafford the previous November and his first encounter with City came in the third round of the FA Cup just after the turn of the year. It turned out to be a competitive affair with nothing to separate the sides, until Norman Whiteside struck in the second half to give the new United manager an important victory over the old enemy. Ferguson did not enjoy the best of seasons, though, with United going on to lose to Coventry at home in the next round, while City were relegated to the second tier.
12 months after City had enjoyed a 5-1 derby success and Howard Kendall's men nearly enjoyed a repeat performance in the league. Kendall had given City some quality and steel, with signings such as Peter Reid and Niall Quinn, while Ferguson's first title-winning team was beginning to take shape and as FA Cup holders they were on their way to lifting the Cup Winners' Cup. A David White double and Colin Hendry strike helped City open up a 3-1 lead, with Mark Hughes on target for United. However, the Red Devils were not to be denied and staged a dramatic fightback in the final ten minutes with Brian McClair grabbing a brace.
United maintained their dominance over City with a five-goal league drubbing of Brian Horton's troops at Old Trafford. There was a gulf in class between the teams and Andrei Kanchelskis underlined the point with a hat-trick as United's champagne football won out. Eric Cantona showed class and a deft touch to score a goal to savour and Hughes also got in on the act in what turned out to be his final season at the Theatre of Dreams. United went on to do the double over the basement battlers that season, scoring eight unanswered goals in the two league games, while City only just avoided the drop.
A fifth-round FA Cup tie that looked to be heading in City's favour after Uwe Rosler opened the scoring with a chip over Peter Schmeichel. However, Cantona equalised from the penalty spot before half-time and Lee Sharpe completed the comeback after the interval to send the Red Devils into the hat for round six. Ferguson's men went on to lift the trophy after Cantona scored the only goal of a disappointing final against Liverpool.
13 years had passed since City had beaten United, but Shaun Goater proved to be the hero of Kevin Keegan's first - and City's last - derby at Maine Road. The veteran Bermudan had largely been reduced to a minor role for the first few months of the season but seized his chance with a decisive double. Nicolas Anelka had earlier broken the deadlock following a Fabien Barthez fumble, only for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to equalise almost immediately. 'The Goat' then took centre stage, slamming in his first after being fed by a Gary Neville mistake and then wrapping up the three points with a fine finish from Eyal Berkovic's pass.
Another bad day at the office for Neville after he was sent off for head-butting Steve McManaman in the first half, but this time United managed to prevail in a six-goal thriller to book United's spot in the last 16 of the FA Cup. Paul Scholes had put the Red Devils ahead before a brace from arch poacher Ruud van Nistelrooy and a Cristiano Ronaldo strike sealed the victory. Despite consolation goals for Michael Tarnat and Robbie Fowler, United went on to win the FA Cup that year while City's 30-year wait for a win at Old Trafford continued.
An emotional occasion at Old Trafford as Manchester marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, with both teams wearing special kits. The match itself was notable for City completing their first league double over United since the 1969/70 season. United struggled to find their rhythm early on and City surged into a two-goal lead as Darius Vassell smashed the ball home at the second attempt after 25 minutes and then debutant Benjani Mwaruwari glanced in Martin Petrov's excellent cross on the stroke of half time. Ferguson's side enjoyed most of the possession after the break but City were excellent in defence and restricted them to hopeful shots from distance until Michael Carrick curled in a consolation goal in stoppage time.
An instant classic full of breathtaking goals and controversy was won in the most dramatic style by United when Michael Owen slotted home almost six minutes into stoppage time, enraging City manager Hughes after only four added minutes had been signalled. City had earlier come from behind three times to draw level in a pulsating encounter, with Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy each netting twice. Wayne Rooney began the goalscoring frolics in only the second minute but his effort was cancelled out by Gareth Barry following a Ben Foster mistake as City battled to stay in contention despite United's obvious superiority on the day.
The Manchester sides met on four occasions last season, with the most eagerly-awaited clash coming in the Carling Cup semi-finals. City held a 2-1 advantage going into the Old Trafford leg of the tie and were determined to show the balance of power was shifting by knocking out their rivals en route to a first Wembley showpiece in 29 years. However, Rooney had other ideas with a last-gasp headed winner to take United through instead. Extra-time had appeared imminent after Carlos Tevez's extravagant finish made it 3-3 on aggregate following earlier second-half strikes from Scholes and Carrick, but Rooney's goal ensured it was a miserable night for the travelling supporters.
The most recent meeting between the sides will live long in the memory of United supporters for one particular reason - Rooney's winning goal. The Red Devils needed to bounce back from their first Premier League defeat of the season a week earlier but it looked like they would have to settle for a draw after David Silva's fortunate finish cancelled out Nani's opener. Then came the pivotal moment of the match and a goal Ferguson later described as one of the best he had seen at Old Trafford, with Rooney blasting an unstoppable overhead kick past Joe Hart to seal the victory.
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