Rooney comes to life with magical derby winner

Wayne Rooney said it was the best goal he’s ever scored,

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson called it the greatest

strike he’s seen in 25 years at Old Trafford and England goalkeeper

Joe Hart didn’t even move.

Rooney put a troubled season behind him on Saturday as his

spectacular bicycle kick won the Manchester derby at Old

Trafford.

With his back to goal, the United and England striker Rooney

jumped and met a right-wing cross after 77 minutes with a

perfectly-timed overhead strike that flew into the top corner,

giving Premier League leader Manchester United a 2-1 win over rival

Manchester City.

”I saw it coming over and I thought why not? Nine times out of

10 they go into the stand,” Rooney told Sky Sports.

Such was the power and accuracy of the shot that City ‘keeper

Hart stood motionless.

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who sat out the game

with an injury, posted his reaction on Twitter.

”Wow….what a goal by ROOOOOOONEY!!! What a way to win the

derby!!” he tweeted, before adding: ”That bicycle kick was one

dirty strike…POW…what a strike what a goal what a

netbuster!!”

Even golfers Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, currently playing in

Dubai, couldn’t help but comment. McIlroy simply tweeted;

”BOOM!!!!!!!!”

Ferguson said the quality of the strike reminded him of United

great Denis Law, who scored 171 goals in a glittering career at the

club.

”It was stunning,” Ferguson said. ”We’ve had some fantastic

goals here but in terms of execution … you’ll never see

that.”

Nani had given United a first-half lead lead with a neat control

and finish, before City equalized with a deflected effort in the

64th.

”(Nani’s goal) was an unbelievable goal, but nobody in their

right sense will even talk about it,” Ferguson said. ”All the

talk will be about that winning goal – unbelievable.”

Rooney’s winner severely dented City’s title hopes, but manager

Roberto Mancini accepted his side had been beaten by a ”moment of

genius.”

”When a fantastic player like Rooney scores a goal like that,

you should clap,” the Italian said. ”He scored a fantastic

goal.”

The goal was all the more surprising given Rooney’s indifferent

season so far. Coming off a disappointing World Cup in June, the

England striker had scored only four league goals until

Saturday.

In October, the 25-year-old former Everton player threatened to

leave Manchester United because he was not given the assurances he

wanted about the club’s future.

Two days later, he changed his mind and signed a new five-year

contract, with reports suggesting it could be worth up to 250,000

pounds ($400,000) a week.

His form only slowly picked up, however, and he has been

overshadowed by Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov, whose

league-leading 19 goals this season includes a stunning overhead

kick of his own in a hat trick against Liverpool at Old

Trafford.

Ferguson, though, took a risk by leaving Berbatov on the bench

against City, and giving Rooney a lone striker role – and his faith

was repaid.

But the United manager still wants more from his

strikeforce.

”I hope that is Wayne back to his best,” he said. ”I have to

say, what I need to get out of Wayne and Berbatov are performances

away from home that are as good as they are at home.

”That is the quandary. With the quality those two have, we

should be dictating games away from home. When they do that, it

will make a hell of a difference.”