Owen breaks City hearts
A last-gasp Michael Owen strike deep into stoppage time earned Man Utd a 4-3 win over Man City.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 21/09/09 10:51am
A last-gasp Michael Owen strike deep into stoppage time earned Manchester United a 4-3 win over rivals Manchester City in a pulsating derby at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney had got the champions off to a dream start when he sidestepped the attention of two defenders before slotting home under Shay Given after two minutes.
City had started the game nervously but were gifted a way back into the match when Ben Foster allowed Carlos Tevez to nick the ball away from him on the left hand side of the area before setting up Gareth Barry, who passed the ball into the unguarded net from 20 yards.
United came out of the traps flying in the second period and were soon back in front when Darren Fletcher met a looping Ryan Giggs cross on 49 minutes.
However City answered back for a second time when Craig Bellamy was allowed to cut inside and fire an unstoppable strike into the top corner three minutes later.
The Red Devils piled on the pressure but could not seem to find a way past Given as the Irishman saved twice from Dimitar Berbatov and Ryan Giggs in quick succession.
United were not to be denied when Giggs, who was majestic on the left flank all match, crossed a free-kick from the left onto the head of Fletcher for 3-2 with ten minutes remaining.
Unbelievably the visitors came back for a third time when Bellamy capitalised on a sloppy pass from Rio Ferdinand before finishing from an acute angle past Foster.
That was not the end of it as Giggs picked out the pass of the match, finding Owen in space in the area, and he delicately dinked over Given in the 96th minute - when only four were supposed to be added on.
United made a bright start, with Rooney and Berbatov looking particularly threatening, when Shaun Wright-Phillips let Patrice Evra run free at a quickly-taken Giggs throw-in.
Evra fed Rooney, who had the strength to wriggle past Toure and Nigel de Jong before prodding home from close range.
At that point, the noise was deafening but City were soon back on level terms. United goalkeeper Foster was left with no excuses for his truly abysmal error of judgement that gifted the visitors their equaliser.
Even Joleon Lescott turned away in disappointment as his long pass bounced into no man's land. Foster clearly felt it would eventually run into the area, which was a debatable point in itself.
Eventually, Foster realised more urgent action was required as Tevez stormed in, just as he should have expected.
Any chance of redemption disappeared as Tevez nicked the ball away from Foster's grasp as he tried to reach the safety of his area, and slipped a pass to Barry which the England midfielder gleefully swept home.
The mistake was made worse by the knowledge Foster had already received one warning, when he got his wires crossed with Nemanja Vidic and allowed Tevez to half-block a long punt downfield.
United were soon back in the lead after 49 minutes and it was Fletcher who did the damage for Ferguson's team, rising above Barry to power home Giggs' curling cross.
Yet, just as the hosts looked set to take control, with Park Ji-sung and Giggs going close, Bellamy thundered home an equaliser.
Bellamy had been buzzing around in his inimitable manner, but there was no doubting the stamp of class on his 20-yard strike as he collected Tevez's short pass, cut inside John O'Shea and drilled into the top right corner. This time Foster was blameless.
But there was so much drama still to come.
Fletcher thought he had won it as he powered home a second header, again from a Giggs cross, 10 minutes from time.
Yet the suicidal tendencies in United ranks had not gone away. Rio Ferdinand attempted an idle chip a minute from time, but found substitute Martin Petrov instead. Petrov released Bellamy, who ran 60 yards before tucking past Foster on 90 minutes.
It seemed City had come through their biggest test yet. Not on your life.
However as cries for the final whistle rang around the away section Giggs remained calm as he plucked the ball from the sky and picked out Owen who dinked over Given in the 96th minute, leaving City manager Mark Hughes seething at the amount of added time.
|Manchester United||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|8||Shots on Target||4|
|10||Shots off Target||4|