Ferdinand thanks Man City goalkeeper Hart for derby protection

Rio Ferdinand has thanked Joe Hart for acting quickly and heading off a pitch invader who tried to confront the Manchester United defender shortly after Ferdinand had been struck by a coin thrown from the crowd, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Ferdinand and his United teammates were celebrating Robin van Persie’s late goal that gave the Premier League leaders victory over the defending champions Manchester City. Wayne Rooney had earlier struck twice to give United a two-goal lead but Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta hit back to draw City level late in the game, until van Persie’s injury time winner.

Ferdinand took to Twitter to publically thank former England colleague Hart and ask that supporters keep the rivalry between the two sides within the bounds of what is acceptable. The coin struck Ferdinand on the side of the head and left blood trickling down his face.

City were quick to denounce the actions of the individual who ran onto the pitch and the objects thrown on to the field of play. Their statement read in part: “Manchester City wishes to offer its sincere apologies to Rio Ferdinand. The club unreservedly condemns the actions which led to his being injured.

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