AFP - Manchester United halted Manchester City's surge towards the top of the Premier League as Michael Owen's last-gasp winner clinched a sensational 4-3 victory over their bitter rivals on Sunday.
City had sparked talk of a title challenge from the blue half of Manchester after winning their first four matches of the season.
But United remain English football's real power-brokers and the champions underlined their determination to retain the title by seeing off stubborn City at Old Trafford.
United took the lead in the second minute when Patrice Evra poked a pass to Wayne Rooney, who took a touch before stabbing his shot past Shay Given.
But City striker Carlos Tevez, who received a predictably hostile reception from the Old Trafford crowd on his first return to United, had recovered from a knee injury in time to start and played a key role in his side's 16th minute equaliser.
He refused to give Ben Foster time to kick downfield and, as the United goalkeeper dithered, Tevez stole possession before slipping a pass for Gareth Barry to shoot into the empty net.
United regained the lead in the 49th minute when Darren Fletcher headed home a Ryan Giggs cross.
Their advantage was short-lived as Craig Bellamy curled in a stunning long-range effort three minutes later.
Fletcher struck again in the 80th minute with another header, this time from Giggs's free-kick.
City looked to have stolen a point when Bellamy out-paced Rio Ferdinand and squeezed in a 90th minute equaliser.
But Owen, on as a substitute, had the last word when he converted Giggs's pass in the sixth minute of stoppage time.