Manchester derby: Robin Van Persie breaches City's fortress

Wayne Rooney

Manchester United laid down a significant marker in the Premier League title race as Robin Van Persie's late free kick sealed a dramatic 3-2 Premier League derby win at Manchester City's home fortress on Sunday.

City fought back after Wayne Rooney's first-half double but goals from Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta proved in vain as Van Persie marked his first Manchester derby with the stoppage-time strike that took United six points clear of City at the top.

Everton scored twice in added time to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Goodison Park, Nikica Jelavic's decisive goal sending David Moyes's team back into the top four.

West Ham United were haunted by former players as Glen Johnson and Joe Cole scored in Liverpool's 3-2 victory at Upton Park as the Merseyside club moved into the top half of the table for the first time this season.

United's victory ended City's two-year unbeaten home run in the league - a sequence of 37 matches - and inflicted a first league defeat of the season on Roberto Mancini's side.

It proved extra sweet for United after the sky blue half of Manchester ruled the roost last season, memorably beating United 6-1 at Old Trafford before following up with a home win and going on to win the title for the first time since 1968.

An ugly incident immediately after Van Persie's winner when celebrating United defender Rio Ferdinand was left bloodied by a coin thrown from the City fans, threatened to overshadow a rip-roaring advertisement for Premier League football.

"It was disappointing that a supporter ran on the field after Rio had been hit by a coin in the eye," United manager Alex Ferguson told the club's website (www.manutd.com).

"It's a bit disappointing. The game didn't deserve that. I don't know whether they're going to stitch it or not."

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