Battle of Manchester Episode 1: United the conquerors

owen celebrates winner

owen celebrates winner

What a derby match it turned out to be!!! United vs City promised much even before kickoff, and the fans were treated to a galore of goals, but also of errors, and for City fans a heart-breaking finish. The quest for who is the boss in Manchester has for the time being turned in United’s favor, although City gave them a very rough ride till the end and had players missing as well, like Adebayor and Robinho, while former United boy Tevez was back in the blue shirt. 7 goals scored, but 4-3 United managed to scrap a win courtesy of Owen in injury time.

The match started brilliantly for United, and inside 2 minutes they were 1-0 up, courtesy of Rooney who slotted home past Given after Evra picked up a quick throw-in by Giggs to find Rooney in the box. It was as if City were going to be thrashed, but on 16 minutes, a terrible error by United’s defence, O’Shea and Ferdinand involved, allowing the ball to run to Foster but also letting Tevez run after it, cost  United the equalizer, as Foster was robbed by Tevez before he could clear the ball, and a simple pass to Barry brought City back on level terms. And from there on, City started dominating the match, with United players in complete disarray. But 1-1 it stayed until half-time.

Second half started yet again with United attacking, and on 49th minute, Fletcher headed a cross by Giggs into the net. 2-1, and United were leading once again. But the joy was short-lived as on 52nd minute, Tevez this time found Bellamy, who after getting past O’Shea fired an unstoppable shot past Foster, 2-2 and City were back in the game. But this time United were not allowing the visitors to control the game, and Fletcher was yet again on the scoresheet as he headed another Giggs cross past Given on the 80th minute. United were holding on to the 3 points, when Ferdinand made a fool of himself after collecting a back-pass, instead of clearing it forward, he chipped it directly onto Bellamy, and the latter, who runs faster than Ferdinand, collected the ball near the half-way line, ran towards goal, and coolly rounded Foster’s outstretched arms to slot home the equalizer, 3-all. Then the most confusing moment happened, since the 4th official had signaled 4 minutes of added time, with some subs and freekicks conceded in the 90 minutes, but as City scored on 90th min and celebrations from the players, 1 more minute was added + United made a change in injury time as well, which counts as 30seconds, and which is added to the injury time, and makes up to around 5.30 minutes, but whatever happened, Owen, who came on in the last 13 minutes of the game for Berbatov, collected a pass yet again from Giggs in the last minute of added time, and he managed to get a shot past the diving Wright-Phillips and advancing Given to give United the lead, and eventually the winner, 4-3 final score. Owen scored on exactly 5.28 minutes in added time, so those who say United were helped by the refs should check again 😛 , as 5.28 min is still in the added 5.30 minutes of added time, plus the refs allowed play upto nearly 97th minute, so there…

City players could not believe their eyes, while manager Hughes was shouting at the officials, and in the meantime Sir Alex and Co were dancing on the sideline.

This match however has shown that United do have some defensive as well as midfield problems, apart from Fletcher who once again played sweating blood for the team. Foster is the first who had been disappointing yet again, in the first minute before Rooney scored he cleared a ball directly on Tevez who came to pressurized him after a back pass, and the ball could have landed in the net had in been in the middle of the field. He was the culprit who led to the 1-1 equalizer after mixing up and instead of booting the ball forward got caught by Tevez to pass to Barry. Rio and O’Shea were culprit as well as they allowed the ball to roll back instead of taking actions. Rio was the culprit yet again on the 90th minute to lob the ball straight at Bellamy while a long clearance would have done the job. Foster is showing he may not be worth the No.1 shirt when VDS retires, and may be that’s why United are interested in signing either Neuer from Shalke or Akinfeev from CSKA in January, two really promising keepers on the world stage. Park was rather ineffective as well on the right, where may be SAF should have started either Nani or Valencia to make more impact, and Park also lost possession too easily.Unluckiest man on the pitch however is Berbatov. He should have scored a couple before being substituted, but each time found Given on his way to deny him.

It seems life without Ronaldo and Tevez can prove to be difficult for United, mostly against teams with high standards of play.

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