Ten Great Manchester Derbies

Manchester City and Manchester United have played out countless dramatic matches in their illustrious histories. Sports News Ireland looks at ten of the most entertaining and important encounters between the sides.

United 4 – 1 City, Division One, August 31st 1957

This match was merely a comfortable victory for United as they started the defence of their Division One title in style. Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor, Johnny Berry and Dennis Viollett scored as United routed their city neighbours.

The encounter will be remembered as the last Manchester derby ever played by the Busby Babes, however. Less than six months later, Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, David Pegg, Liam Whelan, Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor perished in the Munich Air Disaster.

United 0 – 1 City, Division One, April 27th 1974

Denis Law was one of Manchester United’s favourite sons. The Scottish striker scored 237 goals in 404 matches in all competitions, racked up a record 18 hat-tricks and scored a record 46 goals in one season for the red side of Manchester. In 1973, however, Law moved on a free transfer to Manchester City and and the Scottish striker scored the goal that helped relegate United to Division Two.

City won a tight match 1-0, with a Law back-heel deciding the match. Law refused to celebrate afterwards, thinking his goal had condemned his former side to relegation. In reality, a draw would still have relegated the Red Devils.

City 5 – 1 United, Division One, September 23rd 1989

City’s 5-1 routing of United in 1989 has gone down as one of City’s finest ever derby day performances. Alex Ferguson’s charges still hadn’t gelled into the title winning team they would become in the 90s, but the result was still a shock.

City raced into a 3-0 half-time lead after goals from David Oldfield, Trevor Morley and Ian Bishop. Mark Hughes pulled a goal back for United in the second half with a sensational bicycle kick, but normal service was resumed soon after. Oldfield had a tap-in for his second before a quality Andy Hinchcliffe header sealed a famous 5-1 victory for the Citizens.

City 2 – 3 United, Premier League, November 7th 1993

Unfortunately for City, the red half of Manchester dominated the derbies of the 90s. This match in 1993 would be remembered for a patented United comeback. It was an important result for United, who had been eliminated from the European Cup days earlier and seen Eric Cantona sent off amidst scenes of violence. Cantona responded well to the controversy and was the catalyst for United’s Premier League and FA Cup success that season.

City seemed to be in control as two Niall Quinn headers gave the Citizens a 2-0 half-time lead. Eric Cantona took over in the second half and scored a brace to level the scores. It was left to two Irish players to seal an impressive comeback for United as Roy Keane turned in a Denis Irwin cross in the 86th minute. United would go on to defend their title and Cantona was named PFA Player of the Year.

United 5 – 0 City, Premier League, November 10th 1994

The derby day dominance of the United in the 1990s is epitomised by United’s 5-0 victory over City in September 1994. The match will be remembered for an Andrei Kanchelskis hat-trick, while Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes also scored for the Red Devils.

City 3 – 1 United, Premier League, November 9th 2002

After the barren derby days of the 90s, City rediscovered their form against the old enemy in the early 2000s. Kevin Keegan’s side beat United 3-1 in November 2002 in the last ever derby at Maine Road. The win ended a 13 year wait for a derby day victory.

Nicolas Anelka got City off to a great start with a fourth minute goal after Fabien Barthez failed to hold onto a Shaun Goater shot. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer levelled for United minutes later, but the poor United defending was to continue. A mistake from Gary Neville gifted Shaun Goater a glorious chance to give City the lead and the striker applied an accomplished finish. Goater completed the victory with a delicate chip over Fabien Barthez.

City would also draw 1-1 at Old Trafford to make it the first season since 1991-92 that United had not beaten their rivals in either league match.


City 4 – 1 United, Premier League, March 14th 2004

The first ever derby at Eastlands also holds good memories for the blue half of Manchester. City were rampant as they routed United 4-1. Robbie Fowler and Jon Macken gave City a two goal lead, before Paul Scholes pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 at half-time. A Mikael Silvestre mistake then gifted Trevor Sinclair the third in the 73rd minute. The crowning moment was a stunning last minute goal from Shaun Wright-Phillips, who dribbled down the right wing before finishing with aplomb into the roof of the net from a difficult angle.


City 0 United 1, Premier League, May 5th 2007

This match effectively helped United clinch the Premier League. United were in a commanding position atop the Premier League with three matches to play, but Chelsea still harboured hopes of catching Alex Ferguson’s charges. A 1-0 victory at Eastlands, coupled with a Chelsea draw at Arsenal, allowed United to claim their ninth title in 15 years.

The derby was not without drama. A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty had given United a slender lead at the interval, but Alex Ferguson’s charges needed a late Edwin van der Sar penalty save ten minutes from time to hold on for victory.

United 4 – 3 City, Premier League, September 21st 2009

United’s 4-3 victory over City in September 2009 will go down as one of the most entertaining matches in Premier League history. Against the backdrop of Carlos Tevez signing for City from United and Alex Ferguson branding his rivals “noisy neighbours”, the encounter was a statement match for both teams. The game did not disappoint.

Rooney opened the scoring for United in the second minute. Gareth Barry then equalised for City after Carlos Tevez had capitalised on an uncharacteristic Edwin van der Sar mistake. Darren Fletcher scored from two headers either side of a sensational strike from Craig Bellamy. The Welshman scored another in the 90th minute after a mistake from Rio Ferdinand to make it 3-3 and seemingly seal a dramatic draw for the Citizens.

The scene was set for a dramatic finish and Michael Owen was left to controversially win the game in the sixth minute of added time. Ryan Giggs found the striker with a brilliant pass and Owen applied an accomplished finish.

City 2 – 3 United, Community Shield, August 7th 2011

The most recent encounter between the sides came in this season’s Community Shield. City took a 2-0 lead into the break after a Joleon Lescott header and a long distance strike from Edin Dzeko. The second half belonged to United, who played attractive, attacking football en route to an impressive comeback. A Chris Smalling header pulled one back just after the interval, while Nani scored after quality interplay between the Portuguese winger, Wayne Rooney, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck. A rare Vincent Kompany mistake then allowed Nani to run half of the pitch and finish past Joe Hart in the 90th minute.



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