Manchester City took the spoils in the 172nd derby after withstanding Manchester United’s valiant attempt to battle back from two goals down in an absorbing clash at Old Trafford.
Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho had given the Blues a two-goal lead in a first half that they dominated, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s super strike just before the break – his fourth in his first four league games – changed the momentum of the contest.
United were much the better team in the second period but, despite battering on debutant goalkeeper Claudio Bravo’s door, the equaliser would not come and it was the blue half of Manchester who took the bragging rights.
With both sides going into the game with 100 per cent Premier League records so far, the atmosphere before kick-off was unsurprisingly electric. But though Paul Pogba curled an early shot just over from 20 yards after a lightning break, it was City who bossed the rest of the half.
And in the 15th minute, the visitors went ahead. Aleksandar Kolarov’s long ball was flicked on by Iheanacho, in for the suspended Sergio Aguero, and De Bruyne beat Daley Blind to the ball before dispatching a low finish past David De Gea.
Bravo brought down Henrikh Mkhitaryan, one of two changes for the Reds along with Jesse Lingard, in the box, but the Armenian had already been flagged offside. It was a rare opening for Jose Mourinho’s side at this point and City doubled their lead nine minutes before the break to stun the majority of fans inside Old Trafford. De Bruyne rolled a shot from a narrow angle past a static De Gea, which hit the post and rebounded to Iheanacho, who had the simplest of finishes from close range.
By now, City were well on top but, three minutes before the break, Ibrahimovic gave the Reds a foothold. After Blues captain David Silva was booked for a heavy challenge on Antonio Valencia, the Ecuadorian’s resultant free-kick was spilt by Bravo and Ibrahimovic showed great technique to get on top of the bouncing ball and arrow a volley past two City defenders on the goalline. Game on.