Nicolas Otamendi was the surprise hero as Manchester City secured a 2-1 derby win over Manchester United to move 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
The Argentina defender struck in the second half after Marcus Rashford cancelled out David Silva's opener, ensuring a record-equalling 14th win in a row in the top flight for Pep Guardiola's side.
Much had been made before the game of City's vulnerability from set-pieces and it was a curious quirk of fate to see them triumph at Old Trafford for the second year in a row by virtue of two dead-ball situations.
United took a 40-game unbeaten home run, including a 100 per cent record this season, into the match, but City were the dominant force from the outset and deserved the lead Silva secured in the 43rd minute.
Marcus Rashford capitalised on some slack defending to draw United level, but the hosts were punished for failing to clear the lines again nine minutes after the break, as Otamendi finished in style.
United were denied twice at the death by Ederson and the result leaves them with a daunting gap to their neighbours, who look to be on an unstoppable march towards the title after only 16 matches, with Guardiola also enjoying the bragging rights over Jose Mourinho.
2 – Manchester United have conceded two goals at Old Trafford in the Premier League for just the second time under Jose Mourinho (also conceding two v Man City in September 2016). Flashback.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 10, 2017
Perhaps unsurprisingly, City dominated possession in the early exchanges against a United side who lined up with Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard all in support of striker Romelu Lukaku.
City's first chance fell to Raheem Sterling, who shot straight at David de Gea, before Gabriel Jesus produced a similarly tame finish after surging clear into the penalty area past Marcos Rojo.
Jesus incurred the wrath of Mourinho when he went to ground under little contact in the United area, but it was the home support who appeared most frustrated with the half as they watched their side sit deep and offer next to nothing in attack.
De Gea made his first real save of note four minutes before the interval, tipping over Leroy Sane's effort from close range, but it proved a futile piece of agility as City snatched the lead moments later.
Lukaku misjudged his header from the resulting corner and the ball fell kindly to Silva, who prodded home from inside the six-yard box.
The goal seemed to spark United into life suddenly, with Martial at last testing Ederson, and they snatched an equaliser in first-half injury time when Rashford pounced on Fabian Delph's failure to clear and slotted home from 12 yards out.
But City regained their lead nine minutes into the second half in remarkably similar fashion to their opening goal. Lukaku's attempted clearance from Silva's free-kick went straight against Chris Smalling and fell to Otamendi, who steered the ball acrobatically into the net.
4 - Nicolás Otamendi has scored more Premier League goals this season than any other defender (4). Danger. pic.twitter.com/aByDBO0Jhq— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 10, 2017
City's control of the ball showed no sign of waning and De Gea was called upon to make a fine low save to deny Kevin De Bruyne, although Rashford stung the palms of Ederson after another Delph error as Mourinho turned to substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic for hope.
Ederson pulled off a brilliant double save to deny Lukaku and Juan Mata six minutes from time, depriving United of a second equaliser and putting the title race firmly in City's grasp as they became the first side to win 14 consecutive top-flight games in a single season.
Key Opta Facts:
- Manchester City have won their last 14 league games in a row – the most by a team in a single English top-flight season.
- Indeed, City's 14-game winning streak is the joint-best-ever in the English top-flight alongside Arsenal's run between February and August 2002.
- This was just the second time a team has scored more than one goal in the Premier League at Old Trafford against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United (also City in September 2016, 2-1).
- Jose Mourinho has lost nine matches in all competitions against Pep Guardiola, more than against any other manager.
- Five of David Silva's six Premier League goal involvements against Manchester United have come at Old Trafford (three goals, two assists).
- Marcus Rashford has been involved in 11 goals in 12 games in all comps at Old Trafford this season (6 goals, 5 assists), more than any other United player.
- Nicolas Otamendi is now the top scoring defender in the Premier League this season (4).
|Simeone: Sevilla deserved their win|
|Conte calls for VAR improvements|
|Neymar not angered by PSG whistles - Silva|
|FA Cup Review: Wigan dump Bournemouth out, nine-man Chelsea scrape through|
|Banvit beat Bayreuth to stay top as Gaziantep end losing streak|
|England won´t block Jones from Lions role|
|Valverde rues Barca profligacy in Espanyol defeat|
|Chelsea 1 Norwich City 1 (aet, 5-3 pens): Hazard and Caballero seal Blues progression|
|No generosity from Neymar as Cavani waits to make PSG history|
|Neymar sets Ligue 1 landmark with staggering individual display|
|Espanyol 1 Barcelona 0: Melendo ends unbeaten run|
|Paris Saint-Germain 8 Dijon 0: Neymar hits four as Cavani levels Ibrahimovic record|
|Atletico fan in ´serious condition´ after being stabbed before Sevilla game|
|Stokes ´can´t wait´ for England return after ECB clearance|
|Kawhi Leonard´s rehab shut down as quad problem lingers|
|Folger out of MotoGP season due to illness|
|Stokes should not take my place - Bairstow|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Sevilla 2: Montella´s men stage dramatic first-leg comeback|
|Steelers will not retain offensive coordinator Todd Haley|
|Lukaku will score 30 goals for Man Utd this season, predicts Yorke|
|Brady named writers´ NFL MVP|
|Du Plessis wants action on slow pitches|
|Johnson back to his best after Augusta accident|
|Liverpool loan Grujic to Cardiff|
|Centurion hero Ngidi aiming high|
|Mbappe: More to come from Neymar & Cavani partnership|
|Messi the greatest ever despite no World Cup win, insists Di Maria|
|Uncapped Larmour named in Ireland´s Six Nations squad|
|Villa determined to earn place in Spain´s World Cup squad|
|Walcott swaps Arsenal for Everton|
|Kohli bristles at selection questions|
|England forward Haskell handed four-week suspension|
|You even learn from Guardiola at home - Otamendi lauds Pep impact|
|Three-week ban for Bastareaud for alleged homophobic slur|
|IOC to consider joint Korean ice hockey team|
|Sri Lanka ODI woes drag on with Zimbabwe defeat|
|Batsmen let India down against South Africa - Kohli|
|Five fun facts as LeBron James chases 30K career points|
|Bastareaud named in France squad ahead of disciplinary hearing|
|Otamendi pens Man City deal to 2022|
|Neymar leads tributes to retiring Ronaldinho|
|Ronaldo must focus on playing - Zidane sidesteps exit talk|
|Dimitrov, Tsonga survive gruelling battles as Nadal cruises through|
|Carey ton sends Strikers back top of BBL|
|Zidane still an idol for James despite ´sad´ Madrid exit|
|Stoger will stay at Dortmund if ´everything fits´|
|Nadal backs move for financial parity but silent on boycott talk|
|Stokes available for England selection, set for NZ return|
|Bordeaux´s Malcom facing disciplinary action over social media video|
|Debutant Ngidi hurries SA to series win as India crumble in Centurion|
|Eddie Jones signs new England contract|
|Ronaldinho retires – The greatest Brazilians to play for Barcelona|
|England setting the benchmark in ODIs, says Warner|
|Federer would be unreal at any sport - Shapovalov|
|Athletic reward Williams with contract until 2025|
|Nadal too good for Mayer at Australian Open|
|Jones taking unlikely inspiration from City in United´s title pursuit|
|I had one foot out of the Australian Open – Wozniacki revels in fightback|
|Beware the nearly beaten in Melbourne – Wozniacki could match Kerber, Li|
|Rallying Tsonga outlasts Shapovalov in five-set epic|
|Wozniacki saves two match points in dramatic Aus Open comeback|
|Kostyuk, 15, ready to spend after Melbourne run|
|Thomas turns down Celtics´ video tribute|
|Moyes unaware of Chelsea interest in Carroll|
|Verdi wants Bologna stay amid Napoli links|
|Ronaldinho retires – A shining light of Brazil´s 2002 World Cup-winning team|
|Ronaldinho retires – a World Cup and Ballon d´Or among Brazil great´s prizes|
|Celtics great White dead at 71|
|World Cup glory and Bernabeu magic - Ronaldinho´s best moments for Barca and Brazil|
|Trust the Process – 76ers only behind Warriors and Cavs in merchandise sales|