MANCHESTER (Sporting Alert) — Robin van Persie scored a late-late free-kick in his first ever Manchester derby to help Manchester United beat arch rivals Manchester City 3-2 at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Wayne Rooney had given Manchester United a first half 2-0 lead, but Manchester City clawed back into the game to even the scores through Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta.
However, Van Persie beat Joe Hart with his deflected free-kick to hand Sir Alex Ferguson’s side the massive win and moved six points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League table standings.
“It is a fantastic feeling, it is a great day for us and we are now six points clear,” said Rooney, who today scored his 150 and 151 Premier League goals in his career.
“We have waited a long time for this and we know how much it means for the fans.”
Rooney also praised Van Persie for his match winner, which came from a very difficult angel.
“It was a difficult angle at the end but Robin has the ability to do it. Thankfully, he did,” the England forward admitted.
“It is great to score here, but I am scoring for United and enjoying it. They have had a great home record and to stop it is a great feeling.
“It was crazy. It has been like that all season for us, and we were hanging on at the end.”
The defeat saw Manchester City losing its undefeated record this season, while suffering their first Premier League defeat at home in two-years.
Van Persie, who gave up the opportunity to join Manchester City in the summer when he left Arsenal, was super delighted at scoring the match winner.
“We had a really good start thanks to Wayne, and then we were in control. City always come back, we knew that, and it is a really special way to end this game in a dramatic way with the three points,” Van Persie said.
“Wazza asked if I was going to shoot or cross from the free-kick, and I chose to shoot.
“It was a great atmosphere and everyone was supporting their team.”
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was jumping for joy after seeing what he called a very special win, but was left disappointed by the incident that saw Rio Ferdinand being hit by something from the stands, as well as a fan charging on the pitch.
“I have not known many more dramatic days than that. Today was a special one as City had not lost for two years in the Premier League at home,” Fergie, whose side now beat Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and now Manchester City , said.
“You could not take your eyes off it. I thought we played very well.
“We had a goal that was perfectly onside ruled out, and they go up the pitch and score. That is the kind of game football is and it can kill you and kick you in the teeth.
“They deserved to come back when it was 2-2, but up to that point, I thought we were far better than them.”
He added though: “It’s unfortunate that a City fan runs on and coins are thrown. That shouldn’t happen.
“The same thing happened at Chelsea, which was masked by all the other things. We could have done without that.
“At Chelsea, We had half a seat thrown on the pitch, coins, lighters, and nothing done about it. It’s a problem.
“As for today, I’m going to dismiss it from my mind because it was such a good game. You couldn’t take your eyes off it today, it was so engrossing.
“It tells you about the quality of the Premier League, it’s such a great league.”