Manchester United suffered their worst defeat at the Etihad Stadium since 2004 as Manchester City ran riot.
Sergio Aguero scored twice, and Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri added further goals, with Wayne Rooney grabbing a consolation in a 4-1 triumph for City manager Manuel Pellegrini in his first Manchester derby.
For United boss David Moyes it was a desperate day, an echo of a 5-1 defeat suffered by Sir Alex Ferguson at Maine Road in 1989 before his trophy-gathering had begun.
At the double: Sergio Aguero scored twice as City romped to victory
Opening up: Aguero scores the opening goal of the derby in the first half
With his team staring down the barrel of a possible rout even worse than the 6-1 hammering handed out to a team reduced to 10 men at Old Trafford in October 2011, Moyes was facing a crisis.
There was little excuse either.
Apart from a crisp opening 10 minutes, United were comprehensively outplayed by their neighbours, who made them pay for a sterile midfield display and truly awful defending.
One-time United target Samir Nasri was having one of his good days.
Doubling the advantage: Yaya Toure put City 2-0 up in first half stoppage time
Derby delight: Yaya Toure celebrates putting City 2-0 up on the stroke of half time
And when the Frenchman held the ball up intelligently on the side of the area and waited for Aleksandar Kolarov to charge forward on the overlap, Antonio Valencia failed to track him.
The Serbian’s cross was perfect for Aguero, whose first time finish gave David de Gea no chance for the 16th-minute opener.
It was the third game in five Aguero had found the net against United. He was not done – and neither were City.
With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic picked to start alongside each other for the third time in a week, for the first time since 2010, the veteran pair found themselves facing the impossible task of stemming a tide of attacks with their cover disintegrating.
Not going to plan: Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick stand dejected after conceding another goal
Crowded out: Marouane Fellain vies for the ball with Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany
When Alvaro Negredo climbed highest to reach Nasri’s corner in the final minute of the opening period, Toure drifted away from Fellaini and touched the ball home with his knee from barely a yard.
It left Moyes needing to deliver some kind of half-time wake-up call.
But if the Scot thought about producing a hairdryer blast from the Sir Alex Ferguson school of management, he forgot to plug it in.
Three and easy: Aguero scores his second and City’s third in the derby
It’s getting better and better: Aguero celebrates with Alvaro Negredo and Samir Nasri
Mixed emotions: Manuel Pellegrini and David Moyes share different emotions on the touchline
For those first five minutes after the re-start brought two more City goals.
And yet again, United’s defenders were staring at themselves wondering where everyone had gone.
Kolarov’s pass sent Negredo to the byline and his chip to the far post provided Aguero with the easiest of finishes as Patrice Evra and Vidic were again caught out of position.
Then, on City’s next attack, after United had lost possession deep inside their opponents’ half, Navas drove down the right to the byline before crossing to the far post, where Nasri supplied the first-time finish.
Easy does it: Samir Nasri celebrates making it 4-0
Punch perfect: Nasri hits the corner flag in celebration
Immediately minds wandered back to United’s Old Trafford nightmare of two years ago.
Yet the more obvious comparison was that dismal day at Maine Road nearly a quarter of a century ago, before Ferguson had even won a trophy.
That result is now just a footnote in United history.
Too little too late: Rooney scores from a free kick to make the score 4-1 in the final ten minutes
Teammates on different sides: Joe Hart shakes hands with Rooney at the end
Trudging off: Rooney, Chris Smalling and David de Gea leave the pitch dejected at the end
For this to be the same for Moyes, the response will have to be pretty special.
Rooney did pull one back near the end, his strike making him the all-time leading scorer in Manchester derby games with 11 goals, although by then City had eased off.
Home fans singing ‘There’s only one David Moyes’ and ‘Sacked in the morning’ underlined the new order in Manchester now.
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