Sir Alex Ferguson saluted Michael Owen for a "world-class finish" to decide what he deemed "the greatest derby of all time." Owen struck in the sixth minute of stoppage time to earn United a 4-3 win, but Ferguson rued the defending that allowed Manchester City to score three times.
Gareth Barry struck once and Craig Bellamy twice as City equalised three times following an early goal from Wayne Rooney and two second-half strikes from Darren Fletcher. But Owen, a second-half replacement for Dimitar Berbatov, decided the game with his first goal at Old Trafford. Ferguson said: "Michael Owen scored a fantastic goal. We deserved to win the game. You always felt that the game was going to be in their penalty box and there's no one better with these kind of chances. His positional play, his first touch and his first finish were absolutely magnificent, world class.
"It was a fantastic win. We made three horrendous mistakes and it kept them in the game. It spoilt what could have a really emphatic victory. We could have won by six or seven. It's probably the greatest derby game of all time. "What would you rather have - 6-0 or the greatest derby of all time? I'd rather win 6-0." Mark Hughes, the City manager and former United player, disagreed. "To suggest they were seven goals better than us is wrong," he said.
Hughes was unhappy with the amount of added time, especially following Bellamy's 90th-minute leveller. He added: "The fourth official tried to give me an explanation of sorts even before the game finished. His explanation didn't really sit comfortably with me. He tried to say he'd added a minute plus because of our celebration. "We timed the amount of time from when we scored to when they kicked off. It was about 45 seconds, so he's got that wrong. Obviously he's played too much time."
Ferguson continued his verbal assault on City with another jibe at his local rivals. He added: "There's been a lot of expectation at Manchester City. They have to win something. They are the top dogs in terms of media attention. Sometimes you have noisy neighbours; you have to live with that." Controversy also enveloped the London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham. Howard Webb, the referee, failed to award a penalty for a foul by Ricardo Carvalho on Robbie Keane when the match was delicately poised at 1-0 to Chelsea. The home side won the game 3-0, with Didier Drogba on target.