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The sight of blood trickling down the face of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand after being hit by a coin thrown by a Manchester City fan marred his side's 3-2 victory in a dramatic Premier League derby today.
Ferdinand was celebrating Robin van Persie's stoppage time winner when he clutched his face and moved away with blood seeping from a wound near his eye.
The incident at City's Etihad Stadium, and another soon after when a fan ran on to the pitch apparently to confront Ferdinand, detracted from a match full of raw passion and skill.
United manager Alex Ferguson said a spate of recent crowd problems was becoming a cause for concern.
"It's unfortunate that a City fan runs on and coins are thrown," he told the BBC. "That shouldn't happen. The same thing happened at Chelsea, which was masked by all the other things. We could have done without that."
Referring to the incident at Stamford Bridge in October when a steward was injured by Chelsea fans when United celebrated an equally dramatic win, the Scot added: "At Chelsea, We had half a seat thrown on the pitch, coins, lighters, and nothing done about it. It's a problem."
A City spokesman said CCTV footage of the incident was being reviewed and the club issued a statement.
"We apologise to Rio. We condemn the actions of the individual concerned. We will support the police with any investigation and hopefully identify the person as soon as possible," it said.
Ferdinand attempted to make light of the incident later on Twitter, saying: "Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can't believe it was a copper 2p... could have at least been a £1 coin!"