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Top ten iconic Manchester Derby moments

SUPER MARIO: Ever the joker:Mario Balotelli!

SUPER MARIO: Ever the joker:Mario Balotelli!

Heightening the anticipation for Sunday’s 177th Manchester Derby with a nostalgic and joyful trip down Memory Lane…

Why Always Me?

One of the most recognised goal celebrations in football: the revelation of Mario Balotelli’s ‘Why Always Me?’ t-shirt, after his opener in the 6-1 thrashing at Old Trafford in October 2011.

The charismatic Italian was never far from the headlines and he wrote his own in the ‘Demolition Derby’ with a teasing nod to his firework misdemeanour of the previous days.

One of many reasons to smile that day!

Feeding the Goat

Someone should have fore-warned Gary Neville that Shaun Goater had quite a healthy appetite.

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Ever-hungry for goals, the Goat went on the hunt in the last ever Manchester Derby at Maine Road – and demolished two tasty morsels, handed to him on a silver platter.

The second marked his 100th City goal (gorgeously provided by the mercurial Eyal Berkovic) but it is his first which has Blues fans licking their lips, as the Bermudian pickpocketed a stunned Neville before coolly curling past Fabian Barthez to restore the Blues’ lead.

Feed the Goat and he will score!

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Right side of the Law

A feat widely regarded as one of City’s best all-time derby moments (at least before recent successes) – Denis Law’s outrageous back-heel at Old Trafford in April 1974.

Not only did it prove to be the winner; not only did it arrive against his former club; it also served to help relegate the Reds – much to the delight of the City faithful.

“Denis has done it!”

Marvellous stuff

“Where did Hinchcliffe come from? He’s the left-back, remember!”

The Maine Road Massacre… a shining beacon of gladness of the '90s for those long-suffering Blues among us – a fantastic 5-1 win, and all-round brilliant performance.

Goals from David Oldfield (2), Trevor Morley and Ian Bishop had already handed City a commanding lead and the icing was administered to the metaphorical cake with a bullet header, as Andy Hinchcliffe uncharacteristically sprinted to the backpost to complete the rout.

Just for good measure, he then gestured to the crowd that we’d scored five! We sure did!

Cometh the captain

It is fitting that one of the most important goals of City’s recent history was scored by our beloved Club captain: Mr Manchester City himself – Vincent Kompany.

The stakes could not have been higher; the task as clear as a non-Mancunian day: Win to stay in the title race.

It was billed as the biggest Manchester Derby of all time. United visited the Etihad Stadium having surrendered their eight-point lead atop the Premier League table, handing City a route back into the race.

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Should the Blues triumph, we would put ourselves in pole position for the crown with two games remaining and with a superior goal difference to our neighbours.

Up stepped Kompany on the stroke of half-time, powerfully planting a bullet header into the back of the net to spark delirium at the Etihad Stadium, and nudge City ahead in the two-horse race.

A tense second half would follow but City hung on for a pivotal victory – and of course, we would go on to lift our first Premier League title (though, not as easily as originally hoped!)

Wright on cue

“Oh, some final charge wasn’t it?!”

With City leading the 2004 home Manchester Derby 3-1, Shaun Wright-Phillips would have been forgiven for taking the ball to the corner and running down the clock – but no, the little winger had other ideas.

Somehow keeping the ball in play on the right touchline, an unopposed ‘Sweep’ drove at the United defence before unleashing an unstoppable effort in off the crossbar to add the proverbial cherry to an exceptionally sweet cake.

His robot dance in the resulting celebration wasn’t quite as impressive – but it added to the charm of a goal that highlighted each of the Academy graduate’s adored qualities.

Merlin’s magic

Another mention for the Demolition Derby at Old Trafford (oh well, what a shame!) and a tribute to a pass, which is viewed by many as the greatest assist in Premier League football.

David Silva’s mesmeric skillset is no secret to us of course, but his incredible vision and technique were evident for the world to see when he collected the ball with expert control in the United half and (somehow) spotted Edin Dzeko’s run, before executing the perfect half-volleyed delivery into the striker’s path.

Sensing blood, Dzeko raced clear before sliding the ball past David de Gea to cap an unforgettable day. As he wheeled away to the City fans, the Bosnian Diamond had to ask Aleks Kolarov what the score was before fabricating his celebration!

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Majestic management

Memorable moments usually consist of glorious goals, stunning saves, sumptuous skill. sensational celebrations, or occasionally, pretty passages of play.

The final minutes of City’s 2017/18 victory at Old Trafford certainly cannot be described as ‘pretty’ – perhaps the opposite in fact – but they were notable in their significance to the game, and also for comedic effect (for the Blue half of Manchester at least!)

Clutching our 2-1 lead like a toddler with a favourite toy, Pep Guardiola’s men displayed wise game management to keep the ball in the corner of United’s defensive half, frustrating the hosts with a series of throw-ins and set-pieces to retain possession.

Each stoppage was greeted with cheers of glee in the away end, leading up to almighty laudation come the final whistle. A tongue-in-cheek inclusion in this list… but you cannot deny it was enjoyed!

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Dream debut

“He comes from Zimbabwe. He scored on derby day!”

Benjani enjoyed a debut to remember in City Blue, bagging the winner to end the Club’s torrid run of at Old Trafford, in a 2-1 triumph.

The striker probably didn’t know too much about his goal at the time, as it bounced in off his shoulder (!) but he certainly enjoyed it, as City claimed a first win at the home of the Reds since 1974 – and a first league double over our neighbours since the 1969/70 campaign.

On an emotional day for the football world, the Derby paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, with iconic blue and white scarves and commemorative sponsorless shirts.

Wembley wonder

Cited by many as the day the Manchester power balance pendulum shifted in City’s favour, the FA Cup Semi-Final victory over United at Wembley will live long in the memory.

Not only did it herald local pride, Yaya Toure’s momentous matchwinner, in which he robbed Michael Carrick of possession, burst forward in trademark bulldozer fashion and slotted the ball under the onrushing Edwin van der Sar, booked City’s place in the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1981.

The Ivorian would of course strike again in the Final against Stoke to clinch our first major piece of silverware for 35 years.

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