Barbaric City minority ruined this outstanding derby… but it was gratuitous and unnecessary to taunt the defeated fans
18:34 GMT, 9 December 2012
The savage behaviour from a small section of the Manchester City support at the Etihad was a disappointing end to another outstanding derby.
The vast majority of City fans will have been sickened to witness the hurling of flares, bottles and coins at United's players, and fans, as they celebrated Robin van Persie's winning goal.
I was sitting about 30 yards away from Rio Ferdinand when he doubled over after being struck by a coin above his left eye.
Controversy: Rio Ferdinand celebrated in front of the Manchester City fans before being hit by a coin
The centre back, who was celebrating near the home fans, sustained a nasty-looking cut, which some City supporters sitting near me even cheered upon seeing the shot had drawn blood.
It didn't stop there. As Ferdinand was helped off the pitch, a young fan with a blue and white wooly hat and scarf slipped onto the field unnoticed.
For some reason he chased after the bewildered Ferdinand. Thankfully, the fan slipped as he neared the 34-year-old and was apprehended by City keeper Joe Hart before he could inflame the situation further.
Shameful: City fans let off flares and aimed abuse, and objects, at the visiting United fans, who responded
United players Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young hardly acted to calm an already volatile situation when Van Persie's free-kick hit the back of the net deep into stoppage time
Rooney, who had scored two goals himself earlier in the game, sprinted past his own fans before sliding on his knees and hollering at City fans before the first missile had been thrown. He too complained to referee Martin Atkinson of being hit by a flying object.
Young acted with a similar lack of responsibility. As he jogged back to the United half he goaded the rival fans by raising his arms, bouncing around and shouting – rather than celebrating with his team-mate Patrice Evra.
Provocative: Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young celebrated in front of the City fans as United won the derby
Both Young and Rooney had received more than their share of abuse from the City fans, but it was gratuitous and unnecessary to taunt the defeated fans.
Even after Ferdinand had been ushered off the pitch and play had resumed, a small number of City supporters continued to throw objects over the dividing line of police officers and stewards.
Not only was a blue, smoking flare thrown on the pitch, dozens of missiles were hurled into the away section from the East Stand.
Intruder: A City fan is removed from the pitch after running on from the stands at the Etihad
At one point, a cylindrical missile – perhaps a bottle, perhaps an unlit flare – was launched towards the travelling fans' section.
It struck a previously oblivious, celebrating United fan flush in the face. He instantly clutched his head and bent over out of my line of sight.
The majority of United fans continued their celebrations, with a few on the fringes closest to their blue counterparts chanting at the City fans, and a couple even throwing objects back the other way.
Target: Rooney was abused as he prepared to take a United corner
It isn't often I've witnessed City lose at the Etihad Stadium in the past couple of years, but I've never seen anything like the barbarous behaviour shown by some of their supporters.
It doubtlessly hurt all City fans to see their immaculate home record come to an end at the hands of arch rivals United, but the ugly scenes after the winning goal shocked the watching world and marred what should have been another glowing endorsement for the Premier League.