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By ESPN Staff

Van Persie hails 'special' derby

Robin van Persie hailed his late winner as a special way to win the Manchester derby.

• Blog: Van Persie strikes it lucky
• Jolly: Balance of power swings

The Dutchman's deflected injury-time free-kick earned United a 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium after City had come back from 2-0 down. Wayne Rooney's first-half brace put the visitors in command, but goals from Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta got City back on terms.

"We had a really good start, because of Wayne two really good, clinical finishes," Van Persie said on Sky Sports 1.

"We were in control, but City always come back. It's a really special way to end this game, with the three points in a really dramatic way."

The win moved United six points clear of City at the top of the table and ended the hosts' long unbeaten home record.

"To go six points clear, to beat our closest rivals, we're delighted. We're going to celebrate," he added.

The match ended amid unsavoury scenes with Rio Ferdinand appearing to be hit by a missile thrown from the crowd and suffering a cut to his face. But Van Persie felt the game was played in a good spirit.

"I think it was a great atmosphere, everyone was supporting their team. I missed the thing with Rio," he said.

Meanwhile, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claimed his team were worthy winners.

"Today was a special one simply because they haven't lost at home for two years, both of us are contending at the top of the league," he said. "It was a fantastic game, you couldn't take you eyes off that."

Asked if his side deserved the win, Ferguson added: ``Absolutely. I think we played very well. I thought we should have finished the game off. It's a funny game football. It should have been 3-0, the goal was perfectly onside, then they go up and score.

"Football can kick you in the teeth that way. Then they scored the second goal and at that moment in time they deserved that. They came back, were fighting like hell, they gambled everything on the three strikers. But up to that point I thought we were far better than them.''

Ferguson also praised the overall contribution of Van Persie.

"It (the free-kick) got a little deflection, but it was a tremendous hit,'' he said. ``He's kept them on the back foot the whole time."

Ferguson was pleased with his side's spirit after City did the double over them last season.

He said: "I think we can be proud of the fact that, opposed to last year when we sat off them too much, gave them far too much respect, there was a great team spirit. They were determined to win the match. I think in general everyone would recognise that."

On the Ferdinand incident, he said: "It's unfortunate toward the end that the City fan runs on and throws coins at our players. I don't think you need that. The same thing happened at Chelsea which was masked really by all the other things that happened.

"Two fantastic teams today I think and a fantastic game of football and it could do without that."

Ferguson claimed it was too early in the season to measure the significance of the victory.

"City will be fresher in the second half of the season, without European football," he said. "We've got to contend with European football, the FA Cup and the league."

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