Rooney comes to life with magical derby winner

BY foxsports • February 12, 2011

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.''

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