Manchester City climbed to second in the Barclays Premier League by heaping further derby misery on city rivals Manchester United with a 3-0 away win.
David Moyes' men were buoyed by impressive wins over Olympiacos and West Ham United heading into the contest but Man City stung them instantly as Edin Dzeko scored after 43 seconds to register the fastest away goal at Old Trafford in Barclays Premier League history.
United proceeded to stagger their way through the opening moments and rarely threatened to stop City extending their present dominance of the fixture to five wins from six Barclays Premier League meetings, although Juan Mata might have levelled matters six minutes before the interval.
Dzeko finished precisely 11 minutes into the second half to give City breathing space and Yaya Toure added a third in the 90th minute, the Ivorian's fourth goal in two matches.
Manuel Pellegrini's team are well-placed in the title race, three points behind leaders Chelsea with two matches in hand ahead of Saturday's trip to Arsenal.
It is a battle Moyes and champions United must watch from afar, having won just one of 11 matches against the six teams above them in the standings this term
Moyes selected a three-man central midfield in the hope of giving United a more robust feel but they suffered a nightmare start.
City immediately drove into opposition territory and Rafael was forced into a superb last-ditch tackle to deny David Silva, but his positioning was found wanting as Fernandinho worked the ball back into the left side of the area for Samir Nasri.
The playmaker thudded a strike against the base of the near post and Dzeko was on hand to tap in the rebound.
United struggled badly to gain an early foothold and Silva might have increased their anxiety when he scuffed a ninth-minute shot against a prone Rio Ferdinand - starting in place of the suspended Nemanja Vidic at centre-back. Ferdinand then played Silva onside in the 18th minute, leading to Dzeko drawing an excellent stop from David De Gea.
United gradually worked their way into the half with Mata blasting over after Wayne Rooney’s 39th-minute air-shot, and Moyes sent on Shinji Kagawa for the Tom Cleverley at the start of the second half.
However, City resumed on the front foot, Fernandinho failing to adjust his body to convert Vincent Kompany's flick-on from Nasri's 52nd-minute corner and heading over.
Yet United did not heed the warning and, when Nasri produced a similar delivery four minutes later, Dzeko coolly planted a side-foot volley beyond De Gea.
The frenetic pace of the game subsided and Hart remained severely under-worked, with the exception of a sharp 71st-minute stop that kept out an impudent flick from England colleague Danny Welbeck.
A woeful evening for United was compounded when a pass from substitute James Milner deflected into Toure's path, and the midfielder cleverly sidestepped Patrice Evra before driving home in trademark fashion.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "We scored three goals and had three or four more good chances to score. I don't remember many chances Manchester United had to score. We started for the three points from the first minute.
"For me it's very important to keep our clean sheet. We know we can score lots of goals. We were very compact and worked completely in attacking and defending.
"It is important in the beginning of the season to have the squad you need. We have to play so many matches, it is very important to have so many strikers, but I am very happy about our defending. We are a very balanced team at the moment."
Manchester United manager David Moyes: “We didn't start the game well. They were very good but we grew into the game and up into the second goal we had a fighting chance. But we weren't good enough in the end.
"I think we have played a very good side, playing at the sort of level we are aspiring to. We need to come up a couple of levels ourselves because at the moment we are not there."
|29 Mar 2014||v Aston Villa (H)|
|05 Apr 2014||v Newcastle (A)|
|20 Apr 2014||v Everton (A)|
|26 Apr 2014||v Norwich (H)|
|03 May 2014||v Sunderland (H)|
|06 May 2014||v Hull (H)|