Man United win overshadowed by Rio Ferdinand's cut eye
Defender makes light of coin-throwing, but Man City promise to help police find person responsible
Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3. The Manchester derby went the way of United but the match was overshadowed by an ugly incident that left Rio Ferdinand with blood streaming from a wound above his eye.
The United defender was hit by a two pence coin as he celebrated Robin van Persie's stoppage time winner, and as Ferdinand recoiled from the blow a City fan ran on to the pitch seemingly intent on confronting him. City goalkeeper Joe Hart intervened and the intruder was soon bundled away by police and stewards.
Ferdinand later made light of the appalling incident, tweeting: "Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can't believe it was a copper 2p... could have at least been a £1 coin!"
City, however, were in no mood to try and laugh off the matter and the club released a statement on its website that said: "Manchester City wishes to offer its sincere apologies to Rio Ferdinand. The Club unreservedly condemns the actions which led to his being injured." City also promised to cooperate fully with Greater Manchester Police in the search for the person responsible for throwing the coin at Ferdinand.
Similarly, United manager Alex Ferguson expressed his concern at the double lapse in security. "It's just unfortunate towards the end a City fan runs on and then they throw coins at our players and that. I don't think you need that."
In another incident the police announced that a man was arrested inside the ground on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence after officers heard racist chanting.
As for the game itself, United's victory not only ended City's unbeaten record in the Premier League this season, it also took them six points clear at the top of the table. United are now on 39 points with City in second and Chelsea a distant third, ten points behind the leaders.
Wayne Rooney scored twice for the visitors within the opening half-hour but City launched a valiant comeback in the second period. First Yaya Toure scored on the hour mark and then five minutes from time Pablo Zabaleta fired home after United failed to deal adequately with Carlos Tevez's corner.
As City fans began to breathe easier, believing their unbeaten home run in the Premier League stretching back to December 2010 was intact, up popped Van Persie to deny them a share of the spoils. The catalyst was Tevez's foul on Rafael that resulted in a free-kick for the visitors.
Van Persie took the set-piece and his shot beat Joe Hart with the help of a deflection off Samir Nasri. It was the Dutchman's 14th goal of the season and he explained later the build-up to the goal. "Wazza [Rooney] asked if I was going to shoot or cross from the free-kick, and I chose to shoot," he said. "It is a really special way to end this game in a dramatic way with the three points."
City manager Roberto Mancini later accused United of being a "lucky" team, and said he believed his side could go on and win the league and cup double despite the end of their long-standing home record. "A record has to finish, sometimes this can happen, and it happened today in a game we didn't deserve to lose," he said. "We wanted to win the game and we had the chance to win the game. We don't deserve to stay six points behind. We can win the double."