The Straits Times
Published on Dec 09, 2012

Van Persie fires United to dramatic derby win


MANCHESTER, England (REUTERS) - Robin van Persie's stoppage-time free kick swung the Premier League title race firmly in Manchester United's favour as they beat champions Manchester City 3-2 on Sunday in a pulsating derby fuelled by a heavy dose of sweet revenge.

Victory in their neighbours' backyard, at an Etihad Stadium where City had not lost in the league for almost two years, sent Alex Ferguson's side six points clear of their opponents at the top of the table in what already looks like a two-horse race.

Two first-half goals from Wayne Rooney had put United ahead before City pulled level thanks to Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta, only for Van Persie to shatter their comeback.

It was payback time for United, who were denied a 20th English title in the final seconds of last season when City grabbed the championship on goal difference after two stoppage-time goals.