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Ferguson revels in classic win

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Phil McNulty | 21:49 UK time, Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson - in an attempt to put the club he disregards as "noisy neighbours" in their place - claims he counts Manchester United's confrontation with Liverpool as the real local derby as opposed to the domestic squabble with Manchester City.

Ferguson's words were just one more swipe in a week liberally sprinkled with barbs slung from both sides of Manchester in the preamble to a 96-minute Old Trafford classic. And when horse racing fan Michael Owen won this particular derby the old streetfighter gave the game away.

Amid wild scenes of chaos, joy and despair, Ferguson turned the clock back to 10 April 1993 when a Steve Bruce goal against Sheffield Wednesday effectively won the Scot his first Premier League title.

As Owen's goal hit the back of the net and Manchester City manager Mark Hughes attempted to decipher the logic of a winner being scored six minutes into four minutes of stoppage time, Ferguson was almost lost in ecstasy.

Sir Alex Ferguson celebratesSir Alex Ferguson bounces with delight after seeing Michael Owen secure Manchester United's last-gasp victory

He charged around on the touchline, like a dancer who has taken to the floor without musical accompaniment, jigging with players and staff - while also considerately sparing a thought for the stricken City fans with an emphatic and defiant double-clenched fist salute in their direction.

So if this really is the game he rates below beating Liverpool, then he was either indulging in a very obvious wind-up or stand well clear next time United turn over Rafael Benitez's side. Appearances made it look like one of the sweetest victories of his career.

Despite apparently playing down the signficance of the fixture, this meant a lot to Ferguson. He wanted victory so badly to remind City where the power lies in Manchester and when he got it was happy to show his delight to the world.

It was tumultuous end to a derby - a real derby - that deserves every superlative that will be heaped upon it as well as maybe a few expletives from Ferguson and Hughes provoked by shambolic defending.

Ferguson's explosion of elation was a testimony to the fire that rages inside whenever he sees a threat to Manchester United's domination and also a tribute to Manchester City who, despite what he may say, he can definitely see in his rear view mirror.

Hughes kept his composure in the aftermath of a contentious conclusion but issued ominous words of warning to all, especially Ferguson, when he said: "We're not going away any time soon. We are around for a long time. I can assure everyone of that. We have got the means, resources and will to be better in the future and that is what we are going to do."

And you believed him. Every word.

Hughes' main bone of contention was how fourth official Alan Wiley's board went up for four minutes of stoppages and United struck well into the sixth. The explanation was the length of time City spent celebrating their third equaliser, plus a substitution - but it was not one that satisfied Hughes.

The timings have since proved to be borderline but remember four minutes was a "minimum" and it should not be ignored that the time was added on for City as well as United. Their respective priorities in those extra minutes, however, were different.

So often a game that has been preceded by hype and harsh words is followed by a damp squib. Not a bit of it here - this outstripped the hype by a distance and will never be forgotten by anyone lucky enough to witness it, for good and bad.

I was fortunate enough to cover Liverpool's 4-3 win against Newcastle United in April 1996 in a previous existence. It is a game offered up as a prime example of the best the Premier League has to offer. You can now put Old Trafford in September 2009 snugly alongside it.

Take the scenes after Owen's expertly taken finish. United's players and fans barely able to contain themselves, Gary Neville running down the touchline with more than an eye on City's supporters, City's players slumped in agony. Craig Bellamy appearing to cuff an idiotic pitch invader, Ferguson doing a brisk march to the tunnel after a brief handshake with Hughes and Hughes almost punching the face off his watch in fury at the amount of added time.

This was a game were sub-plots could be uncovered everywhere, even before kick-off.

There was Carlos Tevez's return to Old Trafford after being paraded as City's new poster boy in a very obvious challenge to United's domination. There was City's new wealth that allows them to rival, and even eclipse, United in the transfer market. There was City boss Hughes' very public declaration of his club's plan to knock United "off their perch" - an ironic echo of Ferguson's own stated intentions towards Liverpool at the start of his Old Trafford reign.

It was all there. We just needed the match - and we got it. "The best derby of all time" announced a euphoric Ferguson, forgetting momentarily that his real derby was meant to be against Liverpool.

As for the match itself - where do you start? A good place is with the simple truth that United fully deserved to win, despite a performance from City that once again suggested they will be a danger to the best this season.

Indeed, for a spell after Gareth Barry cancelled out Wayne Rooney's early strike, City were the more accomplished side and Tevez's dreadful miss when he hit the post in front of an open goal seconds before half-time was pivotal.

In the second half, City were penned in and pummelled by United, inspired by a magical performance from Ryan Giggs. The years fell like scales from Giggs as he was behind every United attack - creating three goals and almost scoring a couple himself.

If we were tempted to start writing the obituaries on a wonderful career, we can put the pen and paper away for a very long time on this compelling evidence. Giggs was the best player on the pitch.

Darren Fletcher and Bellamy exchanged goals of varying degrees of quality before Owen made the defining contribution with the sort of finish that might just open an old England argument if he maintains his fitness.

The pass from Giggs was perfect but Owen's first touch and clinical dispatch showed again that there is still ice in his veins when presented with a crucial chance, even amid the near hysteria that had descended on Old Trafford when he took the ball in his stride at the Stretford End.

Ferguson's description of Owen as "world class" took on greater resonance when his ruthless strike was set alongside Tevez's botch of an easier opportunity.

For Owen, it was a moment of sweet relief, a moment when Cristiano Ronaldo's one-time number seven shirt finally looked a comfortable fit. The hitherto fragile bond between Owen and the United fans who still picture him in the red of Liverpool was sealed.

United's victory must not blind Ferguson to genuine concerns for him and England coach Fabio Capello in a World Cup season.

It is almost the accepted wisdom that Ben Foster is a regular England goalkeeper of the future. He is not - or at least he should not be in his current condition.

Foster had already almost been caught in possession by the time he gifted possession to Tevez for Barry's goal. And his positioning when Bellamy scored City's third goal was miserable, allowing the striker to beat him with ease at his near post.

And then we come to Rio Ferdinand. Struggling for form and fitness - how grateful he should be for Owen's intervention after he was at fault, along with Foster, for that Bellamy goal.

Only he will know what possessed him when he attempted an arrogant (not to mention utterly hopeless) flick over Martin Petrov in the build-up. Ferguson was a picture on the touchline, throwing his hands to his head in a toxic mixture of utter disbelief and rage even before Bellamy then outpaced a labouring Ferdinand to complete the formalities.

You could almost see Ferguson's infamous 'hairdryer' pointing in Ferdinand's direction, especially as he had spent the previous 10 minutes stalking the technical area issuing the clear message not to throw away the three points he thought Fletcher's second goal had given United.

Owen bailed out Ferdinand - and in doing so reminded Hughes and City of work still to be done, especially in defence.

The £40m central defensive partnership of Joleon Lescott and Kolo Toure failed to cope with a second-half bombardment that brought the best out of Shay Given, while Hughes could have expected better than the late panic stations that constantly presented possession back to United.

City will point to absentees Robinho and Emmanuel Adebayor but the failings that pulled the rug from under them were at the other end of the field. City's ambitions will be thwarted until they are solved.

The flaws of both sides only added to the excitement of a thrilling spectacle, as is often the case. And it emphasises the resilience at the heart of United that they have seen off Tottenham and Manchester City, two clubs planning to barge into the top four, even while looking a weaker side than they were last season.

United certainly showed that it will take even more of the Abu Dhabi riches, and certainly more than the odd provocative poster and some well-chosen words, for City to knock them off their perch but they are capable of least giving them a good shove.

And if this was a fight between newly arrived noisy neighbours and the long-time residents at the top end of Premier League territory, then this is an argument that could captivate us all for years to come.

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  • Comment number 1.

    Agree with Phil, while a lot if City fans will bemoan the extra time you have to remember that City could have scored in that time just as much as Utd!

    Don't agree with SAF, while Utd gifted City two goals there is no way the score should have been 7-0........more like 7-1!

    Cracker first goal by Bellamy though.

    Think with Chelsea result the two pretenders to the top four demonstrated that they were just that.....Pretended!

  • Comment number 2.

    Great derby, and a just result in the end. Hughes moaning they were robbed was silly, they were second best for the whole of the second half and deserved to lose the game. I think it is ominous for the rest of the league that United haven't reached top gear yet in a game and yet are still winning games.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good analysis Phil, not least that whichever way you cut it only one team deserved the win, regardless of City bleating about what they should have come away with.

    On the time-keeping issue, let's be honest - if you spend a minute celebrating a goal and then add a substitution, that's a minimum of an extra 90 seconds on top of injury time already accrued. But deep down, City aren't really smarting about that - that's something that was beyond their control. What really hurts is the things they could have done something about. They could have looked for a fourth, because they had as much time to finish the game as we did. They could have stood firm and backed up all the pre-match claims. They could have closed Ryan Giggs down when he had the ball outside their penalty box, and not parted like the Red Sea to give Michael Owen a clear run at goal.

    But they didn't do any of those things, and that's why there's only one club in Manchester that will be troubling the very top of the table this season.

  • Comment number 4.

    This is the sign a great club, that has a winning mentality, they use the extra 7 minutes to win the game. The small club with the small mentality uses the extra 7 minutes to lose.

    What a fantastic game!

  • Comment number 5.

    Whatever happened in that game, whether United 'deserved' to take 3 points does not take away the fact that at 94 minutes the score was 3-3 and the whistle should have been blown! That second half was fluent with very little break in play, 4 minutes was excessive but to use the excuse that the goal celebration and substitution warrantied nearly minutes is ludicrous!! If that was the case, we would regularly see games go over 5 minutes added time....BUT WE DONT! Deluded to think otherwise.

  • Comment number 6.

    Had Manchester City scored so late would Hughes have accepted it - of course he would!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Having constant digs at Fergie just because he was caught up in the emotion of the day is cheap. To describe Ferdinand as 'labouring' against a player who can outstrip pretty much any defender in the league is also a rather 'one eyed' view. It was a shocking mistake but Bellamy is quick and I would have liked to have seen media darling John Terry try and catch him!
    Ultimately, Fergie is right, Liverpool is still the one most United fans want to win so the premise of your article is fundamentally flawed.
    As for the time, everyone is saying that it was close with time added for the celebration and substitution, but dont forget how long Shay Given took to take a goal kick after city had equalised or the fact that they argued the free kick that ultimately led to the goal. Referree was correct with the time but it just doesnt fit the Fergie time stereotype that the rest of the country like to adhere to.
    The conspiracy theorists will be out in force today "refs are scared of Fergie", " FA and Sky want United to win" etc etc.

  • Comment number 8.

    Firstly, what a great game. As a neutral it was great viewing and the shambolic defending by both teams made this one a classic. Why cant it be like this every week??

    Secondly, why is there such as uproar about the time United scored?? They have been getting away with it for 15 years!

    On a final note, Craig Bellamy was excellent yesterday. Made a real fools of the reds defence. Pity Emmanuel Adebayor or Robino werent available for City could have made a real difference. Tevez did well for City's goal but his miss before half time was a joke.

  • Comment number 9.

    A good post with some fine points as always Phil. I do think yr comment about injury time needs to be given greater prominance. Listening to Mark Hughes you would think that injury time is just for Man City's opponents. As the time accorded to injury time has now been accurately totted up Hughes can have no complaints and yet his complaining does make you think what Man C were doing in those extra mins. Giving the ball away thats what -over and over again. As you say it was so one-sided in the 2nd half, if it was a boxing match, it would have been stopped.

    At one stage the possession ratios were reading 80/20% in Utds favour. For a team with hopes of a top 4 place a 20% possession figure is shameful and more in keeping with a bottom 3 team. I also think Hughes would be distressed at the performances of his expensively assembled defence, particularly the English contingent who were just very poor. If Lescott is worth £22m then im a banana! Add to that the 'walkabout' of Rio and Ive great fears for English defending in SA next year. Mark my words, one of Terry, Johnson, Ferdinand, Lescott, Cole or Bridge will do something like Rio did yesterday -its inevitable.

  • Comment number 10.

    After united struggled in the first few matches I was wondering if they would really be a force to be reckoned with this season. It seems they've now shown they can be after this and the tottenham result and when you think of the improvement at city in such a short space of time, it's not hard to imagine that in the next couple of years they'll be right up there. But even with the hero that is Owen, can anyone say that united are looking good enough to beat chelsea over the course of a season?

  • Comment number 11.

    You only have to look at the added time in the Chelsea game, which had 2 injuries that required the stretcher to come on, to realize that added time is a purely relative concept.

  • Comment number 12.

    The game although exciting was not high on quality, both defences covered themselves in little glory, individually all were poor. City in particular look less than sound, they gave the ball away countless times. I supoose it makes for a good watch?

    I'm convinced that once teams starve them of the ball, then City's sparkle will dim quite quickly

    I'm no Utd lover but City's lack of class in particulat the type of player's they've bought made me root for the team who've built the club and earned the right to spend the money.

    Again two weeks runing Hughes has seen one of his player act appallingly, an idiot who ran on the pitch granted, but he was restrained an no threat to the players, any need to go over? I think not. But Bellamy like Adebyor the previous week showed the lack of class as person not a footballer. bellamy should be banned

    as for the time, Hughes opens himself to all types of hypocracy, A Utd player for some time and scorer or goals deep into added time himself (Oldham FA cup Semi anyone?), a manger of teams both at national and international level. At some point this season City will score a goal in added time, correctly added or not.

    We all know that play until the whislte goes, City got their goal decided that was it and retreated into their half, invited Utd on and hey they scored, big surprise. You really expect Utd to sit there and go fair enough? A bit naive me thinks and shows City need to learn a pretty routine lesson

  • Comment number 13.

    I think Fergie sees Man City as more of a threat than he will happily admit. But having said that, what manager would be able to contain himself after a derby of that excitement? I think that no doubt fuelled his celebrations.

    Also, a word about the goal at 95:28 in the game. As a United fan, I'm gutted that this has happened again because obviously everyone's going to claim how lucky we were, "that's Old Trafford for you" etc. And I do agree. I would have rathered that the very-much-deserved winner had come within the 4 minutes of extra time. The extra 1 and a half minutes on top of what was allocated does seem like a lot, but don't forget City celebrating for 45 seconds after their goal, and Carrick's substitution (which adds 30 seconds). Then remember that referees often go up to 20 seconds over the allocated time anyway, especially if there's an attack going on. And also, the City wall took about 20 seconds to get ready just before the goal (obvious timewasting). So if you look really deep, the time can be justified. Just about. But I do agree that it was a bit odd, and I really wish the goal had come slightly earlier so all these accusations wouldn't have arisen.

    Oh, and by the way, I'm not saying I agree with the justifications over how much time was added, I'm just saying that it IS possible to justify it.

  • Comment number 14.

    What happened when Liverpool got six minutes added on last season and won the game in the 6th minute of added time? I didnt hear any gates come crashing down! Hell, it didnt even make it into the tabloids

  • Comment number 15.

    If ever proof were needed where your'e loyalties lie, this is it. You havn't even tried to be impartial. No surprise really after last weeks assasination of Adebayor, Absolute drivel.

  • Comment number 16.

    A good summary of the game Phil but have you ever known a ref to add the whole amount of time celebrating to the already existing injury time? It just doesn't happen anywhere.....except OT. And as for saying that the time was available both teams well yes but we all know that United were dominating the game, extra extra time was only ever going to benefit one team. Also don't your investigative instincts yearn to know what Ferguson and 4th official Wiley were joking about after the goal had gone in in the 96th minute. True we didn't deserve to win but we deserved our draw for our resilience and how many teams go to OT and score 3 so lets get some balance in the reporting please.

  • Comment number 17.

    When is "added time" going to be more transparent? In the Manchester derby there was no possible reason for FOUR minutes of extra time, let alone over Six minutes that were played. Strange that City score in the 89th minute and there are suddenly 4 minutes of extra time. Added time at Old Trafford seems to mean "we play until Utd score/win!"

  • Comment number 18.

    I thought Man City - without probably two of their best players in Robinho and Adebeyor - played extremely well, showed great resilience and were desperately unlucky at the end when the ref seemed to be waiting for a break in play to blow which just didn't come. Let's remember, they were away from home and lost by the narrowest squeak. Tevez - not a player I have ever really rated as elite - played as well as I have ever seen him play, despite the fickle ManU fans barracking him.

    I think City are definitely top four. As a Spurs fan, I just wish I could say the same about our lads after two really disappointing shows.

  • Comment number 19.

    An all time classic Premier League game , definately.

    The time thing is a red herring here, it didnt favour either team, both had the opportunity to use that time to win it.

    Last season people often suggested that Giggs won player of the season by default , as some sort of 'lifetime award' , which I thought nonsense. His performance yesterday suggests he will be in the running again this year, very few players command a game, especially one of that magnitude and pressure, so completely.
    There have been (a few) more skillfull players than Giggs, a few quicker than Giggs, plenty more clinical than Giggs, but for my money, taking into account his longevity and input,he is the best professional footballer to grace the premiership.

    I think its too early to suggest Owen is 'back' , but it can only be to Englands benefit if his cameos for United over the season keep him fit and get him sharp infront of the goals.

    Bellamy was outstanding for City, ironic given all the big money on attackers, and Tevez, whilst showing epic workrate again, and indeed was largely responsible fo rthe first goal, also showed why he wasnt worth the amount of money he eventually cost. he just isnt clinical enough for a striker yet.

    The same could be said of Berbatov , who I thought should have had a couple, Given did well, no doubt, but shots straight at the keeper are not what a 30 million pound striker should be producing.

  • Comment number 20.

    OK OK OK. So if a minute gets added for a goal then Man Utd and City scored beyond the 90 mark city were bang on 90 mins so that means it has to be taken as after 90 mins. so four plus one plus one plus half is 6 minutes 30 seconds.

    I loved the game. And now wish I was back in Manchester (or more likely Stockport) so I could have a face to face laugh at the the old (I mean new) City fans.

  • Comment number 21.

    Each time you think Ferguson can't sink any lower, he manages with consumate ease. He, his team and the majority of the fans have become so accustomed to winning that even they have forgotten (and some have never known) how to win graciously. To hear a so-called ambassador for the sport, with a knighthood to boot, taunt like a spoilt child post-match was sad for Premiership football.

    Not pretty, not classy… not even technically Manchester… sums it up really.

    …and for those claiming that Hughes would have glady accepted the win in the seven minutes added time, can you even imagine how Ferguson would have taken that? I daren't even think about what a sight that would have been.

  • Comment number 22.

    Absolutely fantastic game to watch and while city feel hard done by United were so dominant it would have been a travesty if city had got anything really.

    As for the time keeping the 4 minutes are a MINIMUM not the total amount of time allotted for stoppages especially as there were then stoppages in added time and City could have pressed for a winner they didn't. Also I don't recall Hughes complaining when he was the beneficiary of extended added time as a United player.

    As for Foster he could bve a great goalkeeper if he sorts his head out. What on earth he was thinking trying to beat Tevez outside the box rather than just booting it into touch I don't know. The same could also be said for Ferdinand - A stupid mistake that could have cost United 3 points.

    Great display from Giggs, great moment for Owen but I think it is really interesting that United's 1st choice central midfield is Fletcher & Anderson. looks like Carrick will hav eto up his game as Fletcher was immense as he was against Arsenal.

  • Comment number 23.

    I wish the interviewer who interviewed Mark Hughes on MOTD would have retorted to this statement by Hughes "We just feel a little bit aggrieved that they were given that time" with "If they were given that time then how much time were City given?"

  • Comment number 24.

    As for the added time, I'm afraid the explanations thus far do not stand up to scrutiny. Yes, of course, addd time is a minimum, but the reasons trotted out thus far, i.e. on MOTD2 were bizarre to say the least.

    I have seen many matches go into added time where a goal has been scored in that period and no further time has been added on, save foe when the goal scored has been right at the end of the period, where the referee has basically allowed sufficient time for little more than the ensuing kick off to be taken.

    I'm afraid now that maybe a directive ought to be issued where tactical substitutions introduced in added time warrant no further addition to the time of play. On MOTD2 Darren Fletcher stated that the added time was correct to, amongst other things, account for the Man U sub brought on in thatperiod, basically trying to gain an advantge by virtually instructing the ref to give them a bit more time to try and score the winning goal, which they did. Again, I have seen countless matches where subs have been brought on in added time where the referee has added no furhter time as a result.

    Before anyone accuses me of Man U bashing, I'm actually criticising the officials for not deploying added time 'rules' (if there are any) consistently. Refereess need to be answerable to this issue and all managers and players should be made aware of what warrants further added time being tagged on to the original figure, and it must be applied consistently, whether the game is a 5-0 drubbing after 90 minutes, or delicately poised as yesterday's game was.

  • Comment number 25.

    Is it just me that noticed that after Bellamy scored his second goal deep into the 89th minute, that play didn't resume until well into the 91st minute???? So while Bellamy and all the City players were giving it large to the fans, did the referee stop the watch??? Interesting....

  • Comment number 26.

    Ok firstly United fully deserved their win. Yes, City were unlucky not to get a point but those saying they deserved all 3 must be on crack or something. I mean, were you actually watching the same game?

    It's also funny how everytime there is added time at Old Trafford it's some sort of conspiracy on the referees part yet no one bats an eyelid about Chelsea being given all that injury time in order to win the game, same happened against Hull on the first day of the season.

    The point is, Utd outclassed City second half and really shouldn't of conceeded 3 goals, Foster and Ferdinand were absolute calamities. I'm happy with the result, it's the lesser of two evils, I'd rather Utd of won than the money mercenaries at City. Lescott worth £24m? HA. Really showed his ambition in that game didn't he.

  • Comment number 27.

    I maintain the argument that the 'epic playoff final comeback' that City produced against Gillingham in 1999 only happened because Mark Halsey added a million additional minutes because we scored two late goals.

    Their arrogance has taken a knock after yesterday, nice to see.

  • Comment number 28.

    #17 - Did you complain when Chelsea took 6 minutes of added time to beat Hull last month or when Liverpool have had 6-7 minutes of added time.

    Bluemoonmatt - Adebayor deserved everything he got thrown at him last week as he acted like a fool. Bel;lamy's just as good anyway although how Tevez is going to get in the team when Adebayor, Robinho and Santa Cruz are fit I'm not sure unbless Hughes sees him as a Carling & FA Cup player at which point he'll strat crying as to why Hughes doesn't love him anymore

  • Comment number 29.

    Speaking as a neutral I'd say that, judging by these comments, Utd fans are as worried by developments across the City as Ferguson so obviously is.
    'Petulant' is his middle name (his spat with the Beeb is so childish!) and it looks like a lot of Reds have also adopted that moniker. The treatment of Tevez was awful - he slaved for you and dug you out of so many holes in games that were on the edge last season. Yet he's treated like a pariah just for pulling on a blue shirt.

  • Comment number 30.

    Fantastic Derby - privelge to be there. Apart from last 15 minutes of the 1st half United were dominant throughout with ony comedy defending from Rio and Foster keeping Citeh in the game. This tired "added time" debate will only ever go away when football embraces the simple concept of a seperate timekeeper which Rugby League has been doing quietly and succesfully for years. It does not result in endless games due to added minutes as there is far less time wasting and a common understanding of when the game will end. Unfortunately it will take more intelligence and common sense than exists at the FA to implement it..

  • Comment number 31.

    City fans are complaining about the time added on at the end but it was the same amount of time for both sides and anything could have happened in the few extra minutes. Had City been in control of the game then maybe they could have used this time to gain that extra goal and win, but instead in the second half they were truly out played and outclassed in all areas of the pitch. So to say that United didn't deserve the victory, is a complete falicy. It was a great game of football, in my opinion the result reflects the game and the best team won!

  • Comment number 32.

    Are we still debating the time added? Anyone who still doesn't understand should look up the rules. There should be no argument.

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    Great derby!!! What a goal from Owen - top class!!! Giggsy was excellent, world class - got hat trick of assists!!!
    As a neutral watching the game - it was great fun. The match was swinging, it was end to end stuff. Tevez hitting the post, Given making 3 excellent saves of Berba's shots. EXCELLENT!!!

    Yeah, time went a li'l overboard. And unfortunately it opens a debate among the fans. But the rule book says - its 4 mins of added time which is bare minimum, and once after that if there are any stoppages its under ref's control to stop it till the time ball is not out of play (possession of attacking team)

    What FA can do to avoid such controversies?

    1) No substitutions after 85 mins. Generally teams do this to kill the time and break the rythm of opposition team. In this case, Carrick was bought on not to break rythm but to enforce his team to take lead.

    2) I believe there is a rule that if player spends more time in celebrations after a goal is scored then he is shown a Yellow card. Goal Celebrations, ball going out of play, keepers taking time for goal kicks are part of the game. I dont see logic in adding 45 secs, 30 secs of time when such thing happens in added time. FA need to look at it and may be bring on a hooter/sound system that automatically starts indicating refs and 4th officials that its last min of the game, so that no extra time is added on after the end of the added time shown by the 4th official. So when 4th official had shown 4mins, automatically the sound system should get activated from 3rd min sounding warning to the ref in control of the game and a hooter as it reaches 4th min so that ref can bring the game to stop, no matter where the ball is in play.

  • Comment number 35.

    Two points please.
    1) Sadly I have to admit that on the basis of the second half United deserved their win. But why on earth doesn't football follow rugby union with the timekeeping? The referee stops the game for injuries and treatment and the clock stops. So everyone in the ground - players, fans and referee depend upon the clock for how long is left. Everyone can see it. Once time is up the next time the ball goes out of play the game is over. No arguments. And every time there is a substitution the timekeeper can add 30 seconds. Easy!
    2) I thought Micah Richards looked a shadow of what he was. Both "open play" goals (the first and the last) came from his side where he showed a lack of pace; discipline; and awareness.

  • Comment number 36.

    as a football fan you have to say well done, united, for keeping going until the end (and then some...). and city have to face the fact, that they have a serious weakness at right-back, as well as needing to work out who goes for headers in the centre. unless kolo toure can teach micah richards about positioning, and closing down opponents earlier (if he sees them at all), then goals will continue to be conceded to attacks that come in at them from that flank (however brilliant shay given is).

  • Comment number 37.

    Re Devilinhell posted at 9.06. You must be Fergie! Four plus one plus half is NOT 6.5!!

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm not particularly a fan of either United or City, but the fact remains that City could also have scored a goal during injury time.

    If City had been the ones to score, you have to wonder if Hughes would have complained that they shouldn't have been awarded it?

    No, I thought not.

    He is only complaining because, with the amount City have spent this summer, he will be expected to deliver results.

  • Comment number 39.

    Maybe football can take a leaf out of rugbys book, ref stops time when a player is injured or any little stoppage. soon as his watch hits 80 minutes or in some parts of the world a hooter goes off next time the ball goes out or free kick given away its full time. If a team were to give a penalty away time carrys on, so teams can't just kill the game at the end.

  • Comment number 40.

    #29 - Tevez should have realised he would never get a good reception after going to City especially since he made a big deal about not going to Liverpool out fo respect for United and then he goes across the City so yes he deserved every bit of barracking that he got.

    It is the same if you go from Tottenham to Arsenal, Everton to Liverpool, Newcastle to Sunderland, Celtic to Rangers or even Rochdale to Oldham or Burnley to Blackburn there is no way you are going to get a good reception as the fans feel betrayed. If you still doubt that then ask, Lampard, Joe Cole, Terry or Glenn Johnson what reception West Ham fans gave them when they came back in a Chelsea shirt

  • Comment number 41.

    I refereed for over 20 years so I feel I can comment on the Man U/Man C match. I am astonished that once again the officials seemed to be wanting to play on umtil Man U scored the winner. I used to think it was just good luck that Man U got the wins and decisions, but now I am more and more convinced the men in black are wanting the home team in this fixture to win. And the way the assistant brushed away Mark Hughes was at best just plain rude. I mark Hughes had done the same he would be on a charge. The men in black have a duty to be unbiased, and to behave correctly at all times, and to set the right example. This season I have seen some pretty poor refereeing, and at yesterdays games featuring the so called Big Two the worst refereeing imaginable. Spurs had a blantant penalty not given, and Man U were given 2 extra minutes on top of the 4 already given. How do you lose 2 minutes in 4 to get extra extra time? After the Rooney dive the other week, for that's what it was to win a penalty, he was on his way down before the 'keeper got near him, and now this, the game is in peril of becoming a laughing stock. The Prem league should sort this, but won't. The game should be played fairly, and it's not if it involves certain teams and the Prem League must take the blame for not sorting it out.

  • Comment number 42.

    Absolute disgrace.

    No more can ANYONE question the reality of 'Fergie Time'.

    City were robbed of a well-earned point and there should be an enquiry into this.

  • Comment number 43.

    24. At 09:15am on 21 Sep 2009, Rupert P Matley wrote:
    As for the added time, I'm afraid the explanations thus far do not stand up to scrutiny. Yes, of course, addd time is a minimum, but the reasons trotted out thus far, i.e. on MOTD2 were bizarre to say the least.

    I have seen many matches go into added time where a goal has been scored in that period and no further time has been added on, save foe when the goal scored has been right at the end of the period, where the referee has basically allowed sufficient time for little more than the ensuing kick off to be taken.

    I'm afraid now that maybe a directive ought to be issued where tactical substitutions introduced in added time warrant no further addition to the time of play. On MOTD2 Darren Fletcher stated that the added time was correct to, amongst other things, account for the Man U sub brought on in thatperiod, basically trying to gain an advantge by virtually instructing the ref to give them a bit more time to try and score the winning goal, which they did. Again, I have seen countless matches where subs have been brought on in added time where the referee has added no furhter time as a result.

    Before anyone accuses me of Man U bashing, I'm actually criticising the officials for not deploying added time 'rules' (if there are any) consistently. Refereess need to be answerable to this issue and all managers and players should be made aware of what warrants further added time being tagged on to the original figure, and it must be applied consistently, whether the game is a 5-0 drubbing after 90 minutes, or delicately poised as yesterday's game was.


    im sorry, but i dont see how this is really practical - what about if a team is hanging on to a win or draw (for example) and decides to make a substitution in added time - does the ref then add the time on for this or not? (bearing in mind the sub is probably being made to "waste time". If the game is a draw, and the team looking most likely to concede makes a sub then is that time added on again or not.....or does the ref decide which team is doing it tactically and decide whether the time should be added on or seems to me this would be a very confusing system you have suggested.

    i think most people are aware now that a ref adds 30 seconds for a substitution made during a game, and at least 30 secs for a goal - i think given some of the goal celebrations yesterday, this added on a lot of time.

    As someone else has suggested, which i fully adhere to, i think they should follow a similar system rugby union where the ref says when play is stopped and everyone else then knows this, the game ends when you get to 45 or 90 minutes then, no "added time" as such. Everyone knows what play is being stopped for and when, so no arguments.

    Without wishing to get into arguments over this matter, as i think it is a red herring, but didnt Aston Villa and Everton have a similar occurrence in their game last season? I think Lescott or someone equalised for Everton (at the end of added on time) then Villa still went on to score the winner. Course i may be wrong though.......

  • Comment number 44.

    Also, i dont want to get into this again (i know it is an ongoing comment brought up, among others by MrBlueBurns and Beyond the Pale) but if the blog is to be pre-moderated, could the message that appears not be changed, as i am not a new member, so the message is wrong......

  • Comment number 45.

    5. At 08:27am on 21 Sep 2009, bell00lled wrote:

    Whatever happened in that game, whether United 'deserved' to take 3 points does not take away the fact that at 94 minutes the score was 3-3 and the whistle should have been blown! That second half was fluent with very little break in play, 4 minutes was excessive but to use the excuse that the goal celebration and substitution warrantied nearly minutes is ludicrous!! If that was the case, we would regularly see games go over 5 minutes added time....BUT WE DONT! Deluded to think otherwise.

    Hang on a minute, get a grip.
    There were two goals scored (with lengthy celebrations), and a substitution AFTER the MINIMUM of 4 minutes board went up. Do you think you can't earn extra time after the board goes up?

    I understand that it's painful for you, but it's perfectly valid, and using it as an excuse for losing is merely a way of deflecting the criticism from the team, onto the match officials. It's "small time", now, after having a night to think about it, what would be "big time" is for Hughes to come out and admit the extra time was right, but the bottom line is, I don't think Hughes is "big time"

  • Comment number 46.

    Great game, personally I think the added time issue has already been debated to death and the score was probably fair. Giggs was outstanding and Rooney is scoring for fun at the moment, but City played their part with Bellamy showing brilliance & halfwittedness in equal measures.

    The lack of class shown by Ferguson and mini ferguson (Neville) at the end of the game really leaves a bitter taste. Call it passion if you like but I'd prefer to call it just plain disrespectful and a little bit sad. If you want to understand why opposing fans have such disdain for SAF, you need look no further.

  • Comment number 47.


    'Petulant' is his middle name (his spat with the Beeb is so childish!) and it looks like a lot of Reds have also adopted that moniker.

    Do you know anything about his spat? you can't do to comment like that?

    And describing Tevez as a slave? Idiot.

  • Comment number 48.

    Phil, can you get something straight please - I thought they had shown in MOTD2 last night that Owen scored in 95.27, when there was meant to be +5.26 of extra time after everything was added up?

  • Comment number 49.

    "(ii)if the home side is only drawing then sufficient time for a home winner is to be allowed. Upon scoring of the winning goal, the referee is to blow the final whistle."


    Just stop and look at that comment for a moment. Does it make any sense? When a match is being drawn, any added time affords each side equal opportunity to score a winner. The advantage was available to City as well, but they didn't take it.

  • Comment number 50.

    I wagered this game as a High Score Draw 4-4 and i nearly won a packet
    alas I lost it all.hmmmm

    Both teams will leak goals if got at thats for sure, as was the case last season.

    as for Hughes, i think he is utterly clueless and out of his depth and City surporters will soon have a new guy at the helm.
    Interesting he mentions " they " will be around a long time, City Yes, Hughes in charge? No.

    as for the game itself very " old traffordish " as the saying now goes.

    entertaining non the less for surporters of both camps.

  • Comment number 51.

    On a serious note whether its Anfield, Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, time for independent time keepers as in Rugby league, Mark Hughes says he is not questioning the officials integrity but as any manager on the receiving end of such a late knock out its clear that is exactly what is being questioned.

    Time for the ref to concentrate on applying the rules, let time keepers take over this contentious area, the reason it is contentious is people do feel, as with other things, ALL the big 4 tend to get the benefit in this area particularly when they are seen to be dropping points. You feel as times you could perform open heart surgery given during some of the added times at the big grounds. UTD fans, note I say big grounds not just OT.

  • Comment number 52.

    Football is a simple game few with a few rules. If the fans and Mark Hughes would read them, then there wouldn't be any complaining.

    As far as I am aware, there is no law that states only one team is allowed to score in added time. Both United and City have the same right to play how they want during the "90 minutes" and any added time, no matter if that is 1 minute, 10 minutes or an hour. To suggest that the added time was added just so that United could get a winning goal is nothing other than the deranged ramblings of an idiot.

    Here's two laws you might be interested in, straight from the FA handbook :

    LAW 7: Allowance for time lost comes from: substitutions; assesment of injured players; removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment, wasting time, and any other cause. 4 minutes alone could come from Shay Given walking from one side of the goal to the other to take a goal kick.


    Perhaps the BBC could invest in a copy of the laws of the game too, then make sure that the "experts" on MoTD read it and understand it instead of allowing them to broadcast the biased and uninformed bile they did last night.

  • Comment number 53.

    The game was the best,second to a certain game in '99 in Barcelona. my only qualm is the united keeper. Foster has been making mistakes after mistakes and we just ignore them as we always end up winning or the mistakes don't cost us a goal.
    Can anyone remember last seasons FA semi finals against Everton? when he tried to dribble the ball past Saha and we almost coincided a goal?
    This are the mistakes that he has been making all his career in a red shirt but we just sweep them under the carpet. We should find a good keeper as we have seen that he can never learn from his mistakes because soon they the mistakes are going to cost us much.

  • Comment number 54.

    For the attention of people moaning about the time. Re-read the rules of the game. 4 minutes added time does not mean 4 minutes dead, it means anytime between 4 mins and 4 mins 59 seconds. Guidelines to the officials indicate that at least 30 seconds should be added for each goal and substitution. So just Bellamy's goal and the Carrick sub would mean that the added time would become a minimum of 5 minutes, and therefore between 5 minutes and 5 minutes 59 seconds. Goal was scored after 5 minutes and 27 seconds so therefore in the allowable time.

    Now during the second half there was 3 subs and 3 goals, so at least 3 minutes would have been played anyway, but the Fletcher second goal meant a delayed restart as originally Petrov was due to replace Tevez, but City had to change plans following the goal, so more time needed to be added there.

  • Comment number 55.

    Really what Man City missed was a Micah Richards whose pay is equal to that of the newcomers (Lescott,Toure) - all four goals came from his side. They can still adjust his pay - the price per barrel of oil is OK now. He appeared mentally out of sorts.

  • Comment number 56.

    Lol.... I can't believe they played 3 minutes extra after the goal. Whatever reason being presented is just a damage control measure. Fact is you will never seen 2-3 minutes extra being played unless somebody is seriously injured and in stretcher.

  • Comment number 57.

    "No more can ANYONE question the reality of 'Fergie Time'."


    Given that the match was being drawn, what made it 'Fergie Time' and not 'Hughes Time'?

    Think before you type.

  • Comment number 58.

    #42 BTP-

    Fergie time is excellent - remember the Sheff Weds game in 1993.

    Absolutely class game. If City had scored the winner in added time would you be complaining about Sparky time?

  • Comment number 59.

    As an Arsenal fan, i have no love of Man utd, but the reason people go on about added time and Man U, is the amount of times Man u score in the last minute or minutes. Mind you, it is fairly funny. i dont remember Hughes questioning the added on time when Bruce scored against Sheffield Wednesday in about the 108th minute back in 1993....

  • Comment number 60.

    Just a reminder Man U v Arsenal in May, Utd need a draw to win the league, 0-0 at 90m the 4th official puts a board up with 3 additional minutes. Rooney is then subbed in the three minutes and walks off slowly to eat up time, Arsenal are on the attack and look like they might nick a win and the title race may be taken to the last game. Mike Dean the ref blows up with 2min 30s of additional time played. Utd win the league.
    Can someone "explain" that one away?

    The rest of your blog is reasonable and the reality is Fergie and Utd are now very concerned by City, on a day that City should have been taken to the cleaners Utd resorted to Wimbledon style tactics and yet another Old Trafford controversy to get the points.

    Hughes is right, City are not going anywhere, the reality is City probably wont be challenging for titles this year but thats not the aim, the aim is top 6, be that 1st or 6th, that is progress.
    Hughes will get this season to prove he can use Sheikh Mansour's money to make City competitive, if he doesnt the cheque book will come out and City will bring in the best manager money can buy.

    It took Ferguson four years to win a trophy at Trafford and seven to win the league, City are one year into a revolution, the owners have shown patience, they are in it for the long haul. Ferguson is 68 in December and its unlikely he will be managing much past 70, he will be gone in a relatively short time, the Sheikh and City wont.

    Defensively Utd are poor and I don’t think they have the money to buy the new keeper they need, City are a work in progress but scored 3, hit the post and forced Utd into goal mouth scrambles, better organized teams will hit Utd on the break and be able to counter the route 1 stuff with ease. I think over 38 games Utd will finish in the top 4 just, but I honestly think Liverpool and Chelsea will both finish at least 10 points clear of them and this could force Ferguson to call it a day.

  • Comment number 61.

    From a neutral standpoint, I was amazed that Man u didn’t win within 90 minutes as they had the run of the game. Credit where it's due to Man City though as they had an answer every time Man U challenged them. It's a real shame that such a good derby is tainted with the extra time argument. I think Hughes has a right to question it as from what I saw there were little or no real interruptions in the game to warrant the 4 minutes anyway, as for an extra 2 on top of that just doesn’t make sense. When you consider there were 2 incidents with stretchers (well one genuine one and then Drogba) at the Chelsea spurs game and that was 8 minutes. Regardless of people attempts to justify it 6 minutes seems a tad generous. I hate to say it but it always seems to happen at Old Trafford and it always works in the favour of SAF and United. So any Man U fans have to appreciate why people often suggest there's an element of home advantage when things like this happen on a regular basis. But people are right in saying that had City scored Hughes wouldn’t mind about the 6 minutes so in a lot of ways it seems like a pointless argument. I still feel compelled to vent my frustration at the ref in general. But I don’t support either teams so the end result makes no difference to me, I just like to see football played with a level of decency and no foul play and this game sadly smacked of home advantage. Still for 90 minutes it was one of the best derby games I've seen in years. And to think I was going to cancel my Sky Sport subscription!!

  • Comment number 62.

    What a great game.

    Obvious that because it was at Old Trafford there will be complaints about the time added on.
    Minimum of 4 mins, a 90th minute goal with extended celebration (3rd equaliser) was calculated on MOTD2 as 56 secs, plus obligatory 30 secs for substitution.
    Gives 5 mins 26 secs, and Owen's goal was at 5 mins 27 secs so not really much complaints there?!

    Poster 24. says that he has seen many games go where additional time is not added on where injury time goals are scored. Firstly I doubt this is true, and secondly if it is true, (unless result is not in doubt, e.g. scoring the fourth in a 4-0 game the ref may decide to put team out of their misery and not play extra), then the refs in those games are wrong. Otherwise it would encourage massive timewasting tactics if players knew that no time would be added on for stoppages (e.g. feigning injuries etc). You stop the watch when ball goes out of play for extended periods. The ball was out of play for almost a minute for the goal and 30 secs seems to be the going rate for subs.

    What about chelski earlier this year with 6 or so mins added, and liverpool last season with 6 mins added and scoring winner in the 7th minute?!?!
    I'm not saying those were not correct timekeeping but they don't get the negative press United do (at least not to the same level).

    Final point. I still think it strange seeing Owen in a United shirt!! But he's a quality finisher. As well as Berba played (and I think he is playing well this season and did so yesterday) he will never have that predatory instinct Owen has.

    Giggs....sheer quality. Best player on the pitch in the 2nd half - was at the heart of almost every United attacking move.

  • Comment number 63.

    "We're not going away any time soon. We are around for a long time. I can assure everyone of that. We have got the means, resources and will to be better in the future and that is what we are going to do."

    I think Mark Hughes is going to discover that assembling a band of footballing mercenaries / misfits, buoyed by promises of huge bonuses is not enough to produce a winning blend.

    And what a truly memorable sight seeing that charming Sir Alex so elated - and ramming the arrogance back down the throats of the small minded City contingent.

  • Comment number 64.

    Oh, just one final thing, the ref......................................

    Remember 2 seasons ago, Ferguson and his sidekick were vehement in their verbal assault on the referee after they had been beaten by Portsmouth in the cup.

    Is Fergsuon now going to praise the refs handling of the extra time,it seems only fair to even handed given that the ref in both cases was

    Martin Atkinson

    Dont hold your breathe, why ?

    The Knight got his way yesterday, 2 years ago he didnt. One of the reasons why he will NEVER be a great manager. Great men lead by example, it aint just the winning. He does not.

  • Comment number 65.

    17. At 08:56am on 21 Sep 2009, Cityfor40years wrote:
    When is "added time" going to be more transparent? In the Manchester derby there was no possible reason for FOUR minutes of extra time, let alone over Six minutes that were played. Strange that City score in the 89th minute and there are suddenly 4 minutes of extra time. Added time at Old Trafford seems to mean "we play until Utd score/win!"


    Well don't you look a fool? The 4 mins which you complain about was put on the board before Bellamy's goal with the score at 3-2. I take it at that point no Man City supporters were complaining about the 4 extra mins. But sure you carry on posting drivel with your blue tinted glasses on. Hard lines 4-3.

  • Comment number 66.

    United fan here:

    Well what a game to stay the least! Yesterday City proved that they will definitely cause problems for the so called "big four". There play reminded me of teams playing away from home in the champions league, looking to absorb pressure, and then hit on the counter. The problem for City is that they weren't coping with the pressure. Give United that much possession, they will punish you.

    Really impressed with Gigg's and Fletcher. Gigg's has such a phenomenal footballing brain, he see's things before they happen, and has the technically ability to execute. Fetcher's work ethic and continually forward runs provide united with so many attacking options, and the boy loves a good challenge as well, hes fast turning into the complete package.

    Great finish by Owen, held his nerve, and showed he is still clinical in the box. Berbatov needs to find his goal scoring abilities and fast. They boy cant hit the back of the net. Free headers, open goals, he always manages to find a way to miss!

    About the time keeping issue, one thing will all forget to remember, is that the time we see on TV never stops. The officials on the other hand, stop the watch. If they are doing there job correctly, then immediately after Bellemy scored, the watch is stopped, 30 seconds is added on the substitution etc etc. I would love to see the Ref's watch after the game, id be very surprised if it read anymore then 94/95 minutes considering he allowed play after United scored.

    Great game, United showed they are still a force to be reckoned with after Ronaldo's departure, but i still think there is a gap between Chelsea and the rest of the league at the moment, they look immense defensively!

  • Comment number 67.

    4 minutes was added for 45 minutes of second half (where 4 goals were scored)
    3 extra minutes were added for rest 4 minutes of extra time and you call it fair

  • Comment number 68.

    When is the game of football going to wake up and stop blaming everybody else but themselves.
    Six minutes were added on and Hughes has a go at the referee, the Ref is in charge and him only no one else.
    Bellamy slapping a supporter again how many more times do we have to hear a player being defended by the manager. It should not have happened, the same goes for the supporter he should not have been on the pitch. Stop this blame game and shouting of injustices.
    The referee is in charge no one else and the stewards and only the stewards should deal with the fan incident, not a player from one of the teams.
    Wake up and stop destroying the game.
    Oh I am not a supporter of any of the teams, just angered at peoples attitudes and how they are destroying the game of football which quite simply is a game with 22 people and one round ball.

  • Comment number 69.

    PS Another thing.

    A City player was floored by an object thrown by Utd fans, they also had a fan invade the pitch and confront City players.

    This sort of thing is appalling, Utd should be made to play behind closed doors for the next five home games and/or be docked at least 10points.


  • Comment number 70.


    Can you explain how, over the course of 45 minutes, 4 minutes of stoppage time were accrued. And yet, over just 4 minutes of stoppage time, another 3 whole minutes of stoppage time were accrued?

    That seems very very very unlikely to me - and to very many others.

  • Comment number 71.

    I feel sorry for you Phil - you get more stick here than Fergie & Rafa combined.

  • Comment number 72.

    If it was right to add 1 min for Man C's goal celebration, why wasn't there another minute added on after Man U scored the winner? If this rule was applied consistently, surely the extra time should have extended to 7 mins plus?

  • Comment number 73.

    Great game yesterday one might suggest one of the best the premier league has ever seen.
    I think in the end the result was right but you couldn't help feel sorry for City having pegged back Utd three times.

    Whilst both teams looked full of ideas and invention going forward,they both look like teams that need to find consistency at the back.

    Ferdinand and Vidic were exposed by Tevez, Bellamy and Sean WP on more than one occasion. Neither centre half is playing well.
    Foster looks like a world class keeper one minute and a Sunday league player the next.
    Will he go the way as the other England pretenders Kirkalnd, Robinson, Hart and Green? All solid club players but none of them stand out enough to have a serious claim on the England jersey.

    Richards looks a shadow of the player that burst onto the scene three seasons ago.
    The right hand side of the defense is probably the next area the Hughes may look to strengthen or indeed give Zabaletta a run.
    Neither Toure or Lescott looked commanding enough during the Utd onslaught. Its a partnership in development but giving any team, let alone Utd that many free headers in the box will always cost you.

    Only the brilliance of Given kept Utd out during that spell of pressure in the second half (if only he were English).

    On yesterdays evidence City will certainly be challenging for 4th / 5th whilst Utd will be challenging Chelsea at the top.

  • Comment number 74.

    37. NeilManCityFan

    Re Devilinhell posted at 9.06. You must be Fergie! Four plus one plus half is NOT 6.5!!

    You must be Hughes, I think the goal was scored at 5.5

  • Comment number 75.

    Right, well you pretty much summed it up Phil, but I'm afraid I have to take issue with your denigration of Tevez; it was his strength, determination and quick feet that got City their first goal and I don't think for one minute that Owen would have scored that half-chance he had when he hit the post. He had only a small gap to aim for at the near post and the defender was tearing into him when he let fly.

    Some people say Tevez was anonymous in the second half - but when Berbatov was brought off I swear I thought, "oh dear, a sub being subbed" - he was that quiet in the first half!

    As for the view that United deserved to win, Given was superb and as he is a City player they are allowed to take credit from his performance. Yes, United peppered the goal, but they are last year's premier league champions, and they were playing at home against one of their fiercest rivals - who had already put two goals past them! What did you expect?

    Even then, City counter-attacked - the perfect strategy against a rampant Man U - with verve, skill and determination and if you have seen a finer brace than Bellamy's so far this season I would love to hear about it.

    Finally, the added time. I think we would all recognise that some sort of case can be made for the amount of time added on but - let's face it - ninety-nine games out of a hundred, the whistle would have gone long before Owen's opportunistic late winner. Admit it, did you not think the referee would blow up once City repelled that late free kick? Instead he played on, and on...

    And for those who say that City had that extra time also, that ignores the obvious point - made by so many Man U fans in the form of the comment that in the second half United were overwhelmingly the better team - that the longer the game went on, the more goals United would have scored; and so extra time was only ever going to suit one team. And so it proved.

    So United have won again, but they will know that City are now a team to fear. Bring on the rematch...

  • Comment number 76.

    Okay I'm obviously still seething at the outcome of yesterdays game and I knew I shouldn't have come on here because it's only making my emotional state worse! I'm going to attempt to put just one post up this morning without it turning into too much of a rant then I'm not looking at any sport for the rest of the day.

    Not one football fan, let alone united fan, could be proud of winning a game like that. What should have gone down as one of the greatest derbies of all time has been ruined by Fergie's magic watch. The reaction of the united players, fergie, and fans shows just how much this meant to them but surely they can't hold their heads up high after that?

    To finish on a positive though, we scored 3 goals at Old Trafford without Adebayor and Robinho and we were only beaten IN MY OPINION by some horrific officiating (I almost used the term 'blatant cheating'). We can use this injustice to concentrate on the rest of the season and prove to ourselves that we deserve to be counted as one of the big boys. Still going to take a good few months for the anger to die down though.

  • Comment number 77.

    Would you Man City fans please stop going on about added time.

    Both teams had the 6 minutes to score. You could've played 10 hours more and it wouldn't have made a difference. Man City didn't score, Man Utd did. That's not the refs fault and never will be.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well MU vs MC, check out: possession 58% vs 42%; on target 11 vs 6; off target 10 vs 4; corners 11 vs 1 ... I agree with Phil, MU deserved to win. Timing? Except that if football means making one goal and then wait until the wistle is blown: It is a game until the very end. It is a fight for winning. I praise the MU players spirit; exactly the same spirit they displayed (despite different team) to win the european champions league title back 1999: 1-0 down to the last 1 minutes but kept fighting to earn 2 goals in the 0 minutes left and extra time.

  • Comment number 79.

    Everyonw keeps going on about the extra time but as a Sunday league player my manager would go mental at me for not concentrating until the very last minute of the match. So for a team of so called superstars, it is ridiculous. If City could actually get the ball off Man Utd in the second half they could have used the extra time to score a winner themselves. Thats why whichever ground you go to it will usually be the home side who appears to get the winner in injury time because they are usually the team looking for the goal. City fans see this for what it was a good attempt to compete with the real team in Manchester that you just werent good enough to pull off.

  • Comment number 80.

    Whats the problem with people on here? It was 3-3 in extra time. City could have scored just as we did. The time was justified due to the goal celebration and the substitution! The time issue is a non-argument.

    Fantastic game, great action, and deserved winners! When City don't have the ball and are put under pressure, they don't even look top 10 let alone top 4...

  • Comment number 81.


    I do not understand why the received wisdom is that Foster is a great keeper. Just cause Ferguson says something, it doesn't make it so.

    All along, the logic has been that until he is tested then we will not know. He is now being tested and in certain circumstances he has been found wanting.

    Compare Foster to Cech, who is only a few months older, and you might start to get a more realistic idea of his ability.

    This is not to say that Foster can't go on to be a top keeper it's just that the jury is very much out, despite a reasonable season for Watford a couple of years ago.

  • Comment number 82.

    Something I've long said is that we should bring rugby style timekeeping into football. For a start there could be no complaints about too much injury time for example, because the match would stop at 90 minutes exactly. Every time there was a free kick, a substitute or a goal, the watch could be stopped so the full time would be played in a match. I see no downside to this idea.

    Plus, on top of this some timewasting would be eliminated. What point would there be in feigning injury when the watch stops for such situations? Maybe to break up the rhythm of the opposition, but that's all.

    I think there are a lot of benefits of timekeeping in rugby, and I see no negatives... But I'm sure someone will enlighten me :)

  • Comment number 83.

    I really can't see why Man City are using the added time as an excuse for losing this match,because they deserved absolutely nothing out of it,if the the score had been 5-1 to Utd that would have a fair reflection of the game.What Mark Hughes wants to look at is the 40 million central defensive partnership of Toure & Lescott,what a waste of money,Richard Dunne was just as good as these 2.City are going to struggle this season defensively,the full backs are not to clever either.
    Utd will improve when they get Van Der Saar back,you can tell by Foster's
    body language he has no confidence whatsoever when it comes to clearing the ball.I was surprised how some of the City players went missing especially in the 2nd half,but that's what you get when your being totally outplayed.
    Top class entertainment and a credit to the E.P.L.

  • Comment number 84.

    Certain sections of football fandom can tie themselves up in knots as much as they want, trying to justify the seven minutes of added time.

    The vast majority know EXACTLY what was going on.

    And it's been going on for nearly 20 years.

  • Comment number 85.

    When the dust settles, it was a cracking game of football. Excitement, goals, mistakes, controversy.

    Ryan Giggs though is incredible. Uniteds very own Maldini.

    Except Welsh. And not a defender...em...

  • Comment number 86.

    The added time was allocated within the game to both teams, and with city in the ascendency after the equaliser, they could have gone on and won in the added time given. I am sure they would not have complained if they had. Fact remains that in the 95 somethin mins, Man Utd scored 4 and City scored 3. Like myself Phil, I am sure you would 100% take Owen to south africe if he is 100% fit. Defoe, Crouch, Agbonlahor are all decent Premiership players. But none have the pedigree of Owen, a man who consistently scores goals at the very highest level. Champions League, Premier League, and 40 goals for his country, top ever competetive goalscorer, goals in quarter finals of a World Cup and European Championships. This is a man who has the rare ability of raising his game on the biggest occasions.

  • Comment number 87.

    Right - if it's not previously stated:

    1. Play UNTIL referee's whistle blows.

    2. City never deserved a point. Never got one. Be grateful
    for a 'respectable' scoreline here!

    3. Manchester is RED. Period.


  • Comment number 88.

    Don't agree with your bit about Tevez Phil; "..and Tevez's dreadful miss when he hit the post in front of an open goal..". It wasn't an open goal, Foster was in the middle of it. But to be fair that is almost the same, Foster's just not good enough.

    Given made some excellent reflex saves, but seemed to think Fletcher's first was going wide and was badly positioned for his second.

    Who else remembers Man City scoring twice in 8 minutes of added time to beat Gillingham in the division 2 or 3 playoffs in 1999? Where did that come from?

    The time thing has always been a gray area, the laws (not rules) are not clear. That idiot Clive Thomas blowing the whistle a second before Brazil equalised in the 1982 world cup. I don't think that's in the spirit of the game. When should the ref stop the clock? For throw ins? Goal kicks? Is it different at the beginning of the game to the end? Should he wait until the ball is near the centre of he pitch to blow? It probably needs to be a bit tighter, and refs need to be more consistent with their interpretation. But it's never going to be exact, because it's football.

    Totally inappropriate for Wiley to be joking with Ferguson at the end there. But what a great game!

  • Comment number 89.

    bellsouth said extra time doesn,t happen anywhere but o/t, stoke v chelsea played a total of 102 minutes, oops maybe that amount of time added may of robbed stoke of a draw, in truth united should have only needed about 70 minutes to see off a "new look city".

  • Comment number 90.

    Stoppage time does not favour one team nor the other. As some have quite rightly pointed out, it gives both teams the opportunity to score a winner or close the game out. I don't think anybody would be complaining if the match would have lasted 120 minutes it was that good to watch!

  • Comment number 91.

    " Yesterday City proved that they will definitely cause problems for the so called "big four". "

    With the exception of Hull City I forsee many other teams causing problems for the " big four " I take it we are to include Man U in this four?

    as i said previously, get at Man U and they will crack under the pressure far to often teams in the past with the exception of Arsenal and Liverpool and recently Chelsea, just rolled over and acepted the pre match print that they were going to loose and so it was. They lost.

    It would have been interesting to have seen what impact Abedeyor would have had on this game, alas it was not to be, due to some expediency on the part of the FA to ban him so quickly so couple this with the apparent failier to have all watches singing from the same hymn sheet Man U managed to win.

    i agree no substitutions after 85 mins and responsibility of time keeping should be taken away from the Referee.

  • Comment number 92.

    84. At 10:30am on 21 Sep 2009, BeyondThePale wrote:
    Certain sections of football fandom can tie themselves up in knots as much as they want, trying to justify the seven minutes of added time.


    we dont have to "justify anything" - the ref's decision is final, and he decides what stoppages there have been and what time to add on. but to say seven minutes of added time is going a bit far dont you think, Owen scored after something like 95:30 - so unless you wanted the ref to blow the final whistle then, there was always going to be more than that on the clock by the time the game kicked-off again to make up "seven minutes".

  • Comment number 93.

    Both teams were given 96 minutes to play a fair game of football and attempt to beat each other! Man United played better throughout the game and havent done anything wrong in this whole situation! As much as i hate to admit it, United deserved to win!

  • Comment number 94.

    41.bazcrane wrote:

    I refereed for over 20 years so I feel I can comment .....
    Sorry mate, refereeing schoolkids does not count :)

  • Comment number 95.

    Brilliant derby match.
    City were always playing catch-up after Rooney's early goal, but showed they were more than capable of getting through Uniteds defense - often.
    Loads of chances for both teams. It's a bit of a shame it didn't end in a draw because neither side really deserved to lose, but I'm glad that it was Michael Owen that got the winner. Everyone only thinks of his injuries - and forgets he's one of England's best natural goal scorers going when fit.

  • Comment number 96.

    i have never seen a united team so desparate to beat city and it took 6 minutes of unjustified extra time to do it

    with you booing of tevez - i have lost all respect for you united and your manager

    you can't accept that there are two good teams in manchester now can you

  • Comment number 97.

    If Tevez, in space near the end of extra time, brings down that clearance on his chest instead of bouncing it off his head, City get the point at OT that they REALLY wanted regardless of whatever United dominance there was.

    An error almost as big as Ferdinand's.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    Mark Hughes comparing Bellamy to Brian Clough is laughable,Cloughie grabbed a yob running past who was part of a pitch invasion and cuffed him,proper bloke.Bellamy grabbed a bloke who had already been restrained by the stewards(great rugby tackle by the way).The Bellamy way is indicitive of the pack,you grab him and i'll hit him,mentality or the cowards way and if there's one thing Cloughie wasn't it was a coward so Mr Hughes should accept his side lost fair and square and he has a real problem with discipline in his squad.

  • Comment number 100.

    I think Ferguson was much more concerned with getting three points than doing one over on city. But hey, it's Manchester United so they're the biggest team in England by a long stretch, so it attracts all the jealousy and bitterness.

    Same old media hogwash, other teams score in extra-time but only Manchester United have such a furore over it.

    If a Manchester United player had hit somebody on the pitch then we would witness a massive over-reaction that would require hourly updates live from bbc news.

    We won, we put more goals in than the other team, I can't even remember their name now, it's history, done.

    Shame to see so much of the BBC football coverage given over to casting aspersions on Manchester United's victory.


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