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Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 14:10 GMT
Man City take derby honours
Eyal Berkovic (left) and Niclas Anelka celebrate the Frenchman's opening goal
Anelka leads the City celebrations, with Berkovic in tow
Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United

Never has Gary Neville been so popular at Maine Road.

Quite simply, they have underachieved - they have received a rollicking and rightly so
Sir Alex Ferguson,
Man Utd manager
The United captain inadvertently sparked wild scenes of celebration for the home fans in the last ever Premiership derby to be played at the ground as his mistake led to Shaun Goater's crucial first-half goal.

England defender Neville, under pressure from the dogged Goater, inexplicably attempted to turn the ball back to his goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.

But his scuffed pass was snaffled by Goater, who beat Barthez with a crisp low finish on 26 minutes.

  Maine Road goals
5 mins: Anelka pounces on Barthez fumble to score
8 mins: Solskjaer sweeps home equaliser
26 mins: Gary Neville's mistake lets in Goater to make it 2-1
50 mins: Berkovic tees up Goater for his 100th City goal
It was the major turning point in a game full of twists and every Neville touch for the remaining 36 minutes before the hapless United captain was substituted was greeted by a City cheer.

And there was plenty for the home side to shout about as Kevin Keegan's side recorded an extraordinary third successive league win - and their first ever Premiership victory over United.

Goater's winner capped an explosive start to the 127th Manchester derby, in which the two fierce rivals exchanged blows inside the opening eight minutes.

City drew first blood with their first attack on five minutes.

The impressive Nicolas Anelka robbed Rio Ferdinand and set Goater up for a shot which appeared to catch Barthez by surprise.

The French goalkeeper spilled the half-hit shot straight to the feet of Anelka, who gratefully accepted the opportunity of poking home.

I have been involved in some great derby matches over the years but I will remember this one forever
Kevin Keegan,
Man City manager
But United's response was swift.

Hesitant City defending allowed Ryan Giggs to fire in a low cross and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stole ahead of Lucien Mettomo to sweep the ball beyond former United keeper Peter Schmeichel.

The comical defending which lit up the opening exchanges proved a recurring theme.

Laurent Blanc became the third member of United's high-profile back four to make an equally high-profile error when his mis-control let in Anelka.

This time, however, Barthez rescued his red-faced defence with a fine save.

But there was to be no reprieve five minutes into the second half when more slack defending allowed City in for the killer third goal.

Phil Neville conceded possession in his own half and Niclas Jensen teed Eyal berkovic up for a glorious chipped pass which set Goater up for his 100th City goal.

United's Juan Sebastian Veron and City's Niclas Anelka get in a tangle
Veron sends Anelka tumbling

United responded with a ludicrous claim for a penalty by Van Nistelrooy under a non-contact challenge from Mettomo and two smart Schmeichel saves to deny Giggs and then Solskjaer.

But their day was summed up by an injury-time miss from substitute John O'Shea, who spooned the ball high and wide with the goal at his mercy.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson started the game in the directors' box but had scampered down to the touchline to try and fix the leaks before the half-time whistle had sounded.

In truth, however, there were too many leaks to plug.

Ferguson's greatest triumphs this season have come in the world of horse racing - but the derby ultimately proved beyond him.

Man City: Schmeichel, Dunne, Wiekens, Mettomo, Jihai, Berkovic (Wright-Phillips 78), Foe, Tiatto (Horlock 88), Jensen, Anelka, Goater.
Subs Not Used: Nash, Benarbia, Huckerby.

Booked: Wiekens.

Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville (O'Shea 62), Blanc, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Solskjaer, Veron (Forlan 62), Phil Neville, Giggs, Scholes, van Nistelrooy.
Subs Not Used: May, Ricardo, Fortune.

Booked: Solskjaer, Phil Neville.

Attendance: 34,649

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset)

BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"United got precisely what they deserved"
Man City boss Kevin Keegan
"We thoroughly deserved this win"
Man City's Peter Schmeichel
"The atmosphere was fantastic"
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