Another late winner hands United derby spoils

Much like Michael Owen's late winner for Manchester United a few seasons back, Robin van Persie scored a stoppage-time winner to give United a 3-2 win over Manchester City. The loss ended the defending champion's unbeaten start to the Premier League season and took United six points clear atop the standings.

Van Persie curled a free kick that was deflected by Samir Nasri inside Joe Hart's post to cap the Dutch striker's first Manchester derby after joining United from Arsenal in the offseason.

"We were in control, but City always come back,'' Van Persie said. "It's a really special way to end this game, with the three points in a really dramatic way. ... To go six points clear, to beat our closest rivals, we're delighted. We're going to celebrate."

In the frenzy following the goal, United's Rio Ferdinand was hit by an object thrown from the stands, leaving him bleeding from a cut above his left eye, and Hart was confronted on the pitch by a fan.

Wayne Rooney had set United on the way to avenging last season's double derby defeat to City by scoring twice in the first half against the run of play to take his career league tally to 150 goals. City staged a second-half comeback, with Yaya Toure netting on the hour and Pablo Zabaleta equalizing in the 86th minute.

But Van Persie, who Arsenal claimed had been made an offer by City in the offseason, struck the late blow that ended the hosts' unbeaten league home run, stretching back to December 2010.

"Today was a special one simply because they haven't lost at home for two years, both of us are contending at the top of the league,'' United manager Alex Ferguson said. "It was a fantastic game, you couldn't take your eyes off that."

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