Owen delivered a remarkable conclusion to a gripping derby game
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Old Trafford
Michael Owen's winner deep into stoppage time gave Manchester United a dramatic victory in a classic derby encounter at Old Trafford.
Owen, on as a substitute for Dimitar Berbatov, pounced in trademark fashion to beat Manchester City's defiant goalkeeper Shay Given and provoke hugely contrasting emotions in the technical area.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson set off on an impromptu wild dance along the touchline - while City counterpart Mark Hughes immediately demanded to know how the decisive moment of a thrilling game could come almost six minutes into four minutes of stoppage time.
Craig Bellamy looked to have earned City an unlikely point as they came from behind for the third time to level only seconds before the end of the 90 minutes.
Hughes demands explanation for added time
And an agitated Hughes was already questioning the amount of time being added on when his hopes of a draw were wrecked by Owen's first goal for United at Old Trafford as City slipped to their first defeat of the season.
Earlier Carlos Tevez, back at his former club for the first time after his acrimonious switch to City, had threatened to return to haunt United in a game that had everything - apart from competent defending.
Wayne Rooney put United ahead after two minutes, but City swiftly restored equality when Tevez took advantage of Ben Foster's hesitation to provide the opportunity for Gareth Barry's equaliser.
Darren Fletcher restored United's lead with a header just after half-time, but Bellamy ensured parity quickly returned with a thunderous 25-yard effort.
United mounted ceaseless pressure and only the efforts of keeper Given kept them at bay as he defied Berbatov twice and the truly outstanding Ryan Giggs.
Fletcher looked to have finally confirmed the three points for United with another header 10 minutes from time, but as Ferguson moved to the touchline and ordered his side to nail down the win, a moment of madness from defender Rio Ferdinand looked to have thrown away two points.
He gifted possession to City substitute Martin Petrov, who sent Bellamy away to beat a poorly-positioned Foster to score.
City's fans inside Old Trafford were understandably jubilant - but a game that put everything the Premier League has to offer on full show, offered up one final twist with Owen's winner.
For United, it was a win they deserved and illustrated that City still have some way to go to achieve boss Hughes' stated aim of knocking their rivals "off their perch".
Hughes will have admired his side's resolve in coming back into the game three times, but the concern will lie in City's hapless defending, where the £40m central defensive pairing of Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott struggled to cope with a constant bombardment of crosses in the second half.
The derby was played out against a background of bold words from both managers - and it was an occasion when the game surpassed the hype, and there is no doubt that United's supremacy merited the win.
Tevez was named in City's line-up as he completed his recovery from injury - although he was wearing heavy strapping on his right knee during the warm up.
And he set the tone for a typically industrious display when he almost cashed in on hesitation on the edge of the area between Foster and Nemanja Vidic. It was a flaw that was to have more serious consequences for United later.
United opened with serious intent and took advantage of sloppy defending from City to strike the first blow in only the second minute, with Patrice Evra breaking free inside the area to set up Rooney for a close-range finish.
Tevez's status as a one-time hero at Old Trafford had been wiped out in an instant with his move to Eastlands, but he endeared himself even more to the City fans when he helped set up an equaliser against the run of play after 16 minutes.
Derby victory was deserved - Fletcher
Once again Foster was at the centre of a breakdown of communication with his defenders and was robbed by Tevez as he attempted to collect the ball on the edge of his area. The Argentine found Barry, who made a difficult finish look very easy as he slid home from 18 yards with United's goalkeeper hopelessly stranded.
It was a goal that took away all of United's early momentum and by the interval it was City who could justifiably feel more satisfied.
Tevez, who was booked for a late challenge on Ferdinand, was guilty of a dreadful miss on the stroke of half-time, squandering the opportunity to punish the club where he ultimately believed he was undervalued.
Toure ended a surging run with a pass that released Tevez inside the area with only Foster to beat. A desperate late lunge from Evra may just have distracted Tevez, but to only strike the outside of the post represented a dreadful waste.
And Tevez's miss caused even more pain as United started the second half as they had the first, regaining the lead after 49 minutes. Once again City were guilty of poor defending as Giggs was allowed time to cross and Fletcher completed the job at the far post, rising above Barry to head home.
City needed to mount a swift response - and they did in the most spectacular fashion possible as they drew level again within three minutes.
Tevez was given a hostile reception on his Old Trafford return
There looked little danger as Bellamy collected possession on the left flank, but he then unleashed a stunning rising angled drive from 25 yards that arrowed into the top corner beyond the outstretched arms of Foster.
It provoked a furious attacking response from United, and only the brilliant Given kept City in the game as the goalkeeper demonstrated his enduring talents once more.
Given twice saved headers from Berbatov and then added to his catalogue of outstanding stops by turning a powerful drive from Giggs over the top.
United boss Ferguson was clearly frustrated at his side's failure to emphasise their obvious superiority, and he replaced Berbatov with Owen on 77 minutes.
When the goal came with 10 minutes remaining, it once again arrived from the unlikely source of Fletcher, who headed home a free-kick from Giggs.
It brought Ferguson to the touchline to gesticulate at his players in a manner that suggested his famous "hairdryer" would be turned on to full power should they allow their lead to slip again.
Sadly, his words fell on deaf ears as Ferdinand committed an error that would have shamed a schoolboy, extravagantly attempting to lift the ball away he only found Petrov, who sent Bellamy clear.
Ferguson's hands were already clasped to his head in anguish even before Bellamy made the most of more poor positioning from Foster to score at the near post.
As City fans celebrated an unlikely point the board went up for four minutes of stoppage time - so it was to the obvious consternation of Hughes that it was closer to six minutes when Owen pounced on Giggs's pass to send Old Trafford into ecstasy with a clinical finish.
90:00+6:58 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+5:28 Assist on the goal came from Ryan Giggs.
90:00+5:28 GOAL - Michael Owen:Man Utd 4 - 3 Man City Michael Owen gets on the score sheet with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal.
Man Utd 4-3 Man City.
90:00+4:51 Foul by Carlos Tevez on Rio Ferdinand, free kick awarded. Wayne Rooney delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from
right channel, Stephen Ireland makes a clearance.
90:00+3:09 Effort on goal by Wayne Rooney from outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
90:00+2:28 Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line, save by Shay Given.
90:00+2:28 Substitution (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Michael Carrick coming on for Oliveira Anderson.
90:00+2:00 Antonio Valencia produces a cross, clearance made by Stephen Ireland.
89:54 The assist for the goal came from Martin Petrov.
89:54 GOAL - Craig Bellamy:Man Utd 3 - 3 Man City A goal is scored by Craig Bellamy from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Man Utd 3-3 Man City.
89:18 Gareth Barry concedes a free kick for a foul on Oliveira Anderson. John O'Shea takes the direct free kick.
88:13 Martin Petrov has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.
87:39 Shaun Wright-Phillips takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save. Corner taken left-footed by Gareth Barry, Rio Ferdinand makes
87:08 Oliveira Anderson has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
85:58 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Ben Foster.
85:21 Craig Bellamy concedes a free kick for a foul on Oliveira Anderson. Ben Foster takes the direct free kick.
83:45 Shaun Wright-Phillips fouled by Ryan Giggs, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Shay Given.
81:52 Ben Foster restarts play with the free kick.
81:52 Substitution Nigel De Jong goes off and Martin Petrov comes on.
81:52 Micah Richards concedes a free kick for a foul on Patrice Evra.
80:00 Ryan Giggs provided the assist for the goal.
80:00 GOAL - Darren Fletcher:Man Utd 3 - 2 Man City Darren Fletcher finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close range. Man Utd 3-2 Man City.
79:24 Micah Richards gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Patrice Evra. The ball is crossed by Ryan Giggs,
78:44 Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the left by-line, clearance by Micah Richards.
78:36 Patrice Evra delivers the ball, Joleon Lescott gets a block in.
77:44 Nigel De Jong handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Darren Fletcher. Ryan Giggs produces a
cross, Joleon Lescott makes a clearance.
77:06 Substitution (Man Utd) makes a substitution, with Michael Owen coming on for Dimitar Berbatov.
76:19 Foul by John O'Shea on Craig Bellamy, free kick awarded. Craig Bellamy restarts play with the free kick.
75:03 The ball is delivered by Antonio Valencia, clearance by Kolo Toure.
72:33 Centre by John O'Shea, blocked by Gareth Barry.
71:10 A cross is delivered by Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of
the right-hand post.
Correction - 70:33 The ball is swung over by Darren Fletcher, Micah Richards makes a clearance.
70:33 A cross is delivered by Darren Fletcher, Kolo Toure manages to make a clearance.
69:56 Corner from the right by-line taken by Ryan Giggs, clearance made by Kolo Toure.
69:38 The ball is crossed by Antonio Valencia, Ryan Giggs takes a shot. Shay Given makes a save.
68:57 A cross is delivered by Antonio Valencia, save by Shay Given.
68:25 Corner taken by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line to the near post, Stephen Ireland makes a clearance.
68:06 Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Save by Shay Given.
67:27 Corner from the left by-line taken by Ryan Giggs, Nemanja Vidic takes a shot. Blocked by Joleon Lescott.
67:20 Wayne Rooney produces a cross, Joleon Lescott makes a clearance.
65:16 Ryan Giggs takes the inswinging corner, save by Shay Given.
64:41 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line, Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Shay Given makes
64:34 A cross is delivered by Antonio Valencia, Wayne Bridge gets a block in.
63:45 Oliveira Anderson delivers the ball, Kolo Toure manages to make a clearance.
62:22 Centre by John O'Shea, Joleon Lescott manages to make a clearance.
61:08 Substitution Antonio Valencia replaces Ji-Sung Park.
60:57 The ball is swung over by Patrice Evra.
59:48 Corner from the right by-line taken by Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Blocked by Shaun Wright-Phillips. Centre by
Wayne Rooney, blocked by Kolo Toure. Short corner taken by Ryan Giggs.
58:42 Wayne Rooney delivers the ball, Headed effort on goal by Ryan Giggs from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the
57:45 Free kick crossed by Ryan Giggs, clearance made by Nigel De Jong.
57:45 Booking Craig Bellamy is shown a yellow card.
57:36 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Oliveira Anderson by Craig Bellamy.
57:06 The ball is crossed by Wayne Rooney, clearance by Kolo Toure.
56:23 A cross is delivered by Ryan Giggs, save made by Shay Given.
55:07 Centre by Patrice Evra, blocked by Kolo Toure. Corner taken by Ryan Giggs, clearance made by Joleon Lescott.
54:55 Short corner worked by Ryan Giggs.
53:27 Ji-Sung Park has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.
51:38 Carlos Tevez provided the assist for the goal.
51:38 GOAL - Craig Bellamy:Man Utd 2 - 2 Man City Craig Bellamy grabs a goal from just outside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-2 Man City.
50:59 Ryan Giggs takes a shot. Save by Shay Given.
50:03 Ryan Giggs produces a cross, Joleon Lescott makes a clearance. Effort on goal by Ji-Sung Park from deep inside the area goes
harmlessly over the bar.
48:21 The assist for the goal came from Ryan Giggs.
48:21 GOAL - Darren Fletcher:Man Utd 2 - 1 Man City Darren Fletcher finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Man Utd 2-1 Man City.
48:18 Ryan Giggs produces a cross,
46:25 Dimitar Berbatov fouled by Gareth Barry, the ref awards a free kick. Wayne Rooney produces a strike on goal direct from the
45:01 The second half has started.
45:00+2:39 The match has reached half-time.
45:00+2:17 Shot by Joleon Lescott from just outside the area goes over the net.
45:00+1:01 Patrice Evra challenges Shaun Wright-Phillips unfairly and gives away a free kick. Craig Bellamy fires a strike on goal direct
from the free kick, blocked by Carlos Tevez.
Correction - 44:09 Carlos Tevez produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area and hits the post.
44:09 Carlos Tevez produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and hits the post.
42:49 Free kick crossed left-footed by Gareth Barry, save made by Ben Foster.
42:49 Booking Booking for Nemanja Vidic for unsporting behaviour.
42:42 Nemanja Vidic concedes a free kick for a foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips.
40:37 Wayne Rooney concedes a free kick for a foul on Gareth Barry. Shay Given restarts play with the free kick.
38:02 Oliveira Anderson challenges Nigel De Jong unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Bridge.
36:35 Foul by Micah Richards on Ryan Giggs, free kick awarded. Ryan Giggs sends in a cross, Dimitar Berbatov has a header from close
in and clears the crossbar.
35:04 Wayne Bridge takes the free kick.
35:04 Booking The referee books Oliveira Anderson for unsporting behaviour.
34:58 Free kick awarded for a foul by Oliveira Anderson on Carlos Tevez.
32:15 Wayne Rooney has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
30:49 Craig Bellamy delivers the ball, clearance made by Nemanja Vidic.
28:51 Unfair challenge on Stephen Ireland by Ji-Sung Park results in a free kick. Carlos Tevez fires a strike on goal direct from
the free kick. Craig Bellamy fouled by Ji-Sung Park, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by
Craig Bellamy, Wayne Rooney makes a clearance.
27:57 Patrice Evra gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Shaun Wright-Phillips. Direct free kick taken by Shay Given.
27:33 Unfair challenge on Darren Fletcher by Stephen Ireland results in a free kick. Darren Fletcher takes the free kick.
26:42 Direct free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.
26:42 Booking Caution for Carlos Tevez.
26:30 Carlos Tevez challenges Rio Ferdinand unfairly and gives away a free kick.
25:47 Ji-Sung Park sends in a cross, clearance made by Joleon Lescott.
Correction - 25:11 Wayne Bridge produces a cross, clearance by Rio Ferdinand. Dimitar Berbatov fouled by Gareth Barry, the ref awards a free
kick. Rio Ferdinand takes the free kick.
25:11 The ball is delivered by Wayne Bridge, clearance made by Rio Ferdinand. Gareth Barry gives away a free kick for an unfair
challenge on Dimitar Berbatov. Oliveira Anderson takes the free kick.
23:44 Kolo Toure challenges Dimitar Berbatov unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by John O'Shea.
23:14 Shaun Wright-Phillips crosses the ball, Header from close range by Carlos Tevez clears the bar.
22:44 Micah Richards challenges Oliveira Anderson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Patrice Evra.
20:01 Free kick awarded for a foul by John O'Shea on Gareth Barry. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Bridge.
19:28 Oliveira Anderson produces a left-footed effort from long distance that goes harmlessly over the bar.
19:17 Ryan Giggs sends in a cross, Kolo Toure makes a clearance.
15:54 The assist for the goal came from Carlos Tevez.
15:54 GOAL - Gareth Barry:Man Utd 1 - 1 Man City Goal scored by Gareth Barry from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 1-1 Man City.
Correction - 14:46 The ball is swung over by Wayne Rooney, Kolo Toure makes a clearance.
14:46 Centre by Wayne Rooney, clearance by Wayne Bridge.
13:43 Effort on goal by Dimitar Berbatov from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.
11:26 Ryan Giggs gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Barry. Free kick taken by Kolo Toure.
11:16 Wayne Rooney crosses the ball, blocked by Wayne Bridge.
9:34 The ball is delivered by Ji-Sung Park, clearance made by Kolo Toure.
8:53 Unfair challenge on Oliveira Anderson by Shaun Wright-Phillips results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Ryan
Giggs from right wing, clearance made by Wayne Bridge.
5:46 Foul by Darren Fletcher on Stephen Ireland, free kick awarded. Kolo Toure takes the free kick.
4:39 Foul by Wayne Rooney on Micah Richards, free kick awarded. Shay Given takes the free kick.
Correction - 1:52 Assist by Patrice Evra.
1:52 Assist on the goal came from Patrice Evra.
1:52 GOAL - Wayne Rooney:Man Utd 1 - 0 Man City Wayne Rooney grabs a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 1-0 Man City.
0:56 Gareth Barry fouled by Ji-Sung Park, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Wayne Bridge.
0:00 The referee gets the game underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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