Edin Dzeko scored a brace as Manchester City underlined their Premier League title credentials with a 3-0 victory at rivals Manchester United on Tuesday evening in the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford.
Dzeko gave City the lead in the first minute and added his second goal in the second half as City beat United for the third straight time in the league. Yaya Toure added City's third goal in the 90th minute.
Man City has won three straight league games vs Man United for the first time since 1969-70.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) March 25, 2014
With the victory, City moved up to second place on 66 points, three points behind leaders Chelsea but with two games still in hand. Manuel Pellegrini's side face another big match on Saturday at Arsenal, a team that City defeated 6-3 in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Then, on April 12, City will visit Liverpool in a match that both teams will likely view as a must-win for their title challenges.
Manchester United, who won last season's title by 11 points, remain seventh after a 10th league defeat of the season. First-year manager David Moyes has been defiant under pressure, telling BBC Sport that his "future has not changed one bit."
But while Moyes and United will have taken heart from their recent 3-0 victory over Olympiakos in the UEFA Champions League, their hopes were dashed quickly against City. Just 42 seconds after taking possession from the opening kick-off, City went ahead.
Fernandinho started the move with an angled pass to Nasri on the left. Nasri cut inside and shot off the inside of the near upright, but the ball bounced into the the middle for Dzeko, who powered into the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
City threatened again in the ninth minute after Michael Carrick gave away possession in United's half. Silva again created danger with a dribble through the box, but his shot was blocked.
The visitors came even closer in the 18th minute as Silva teed up Dzeko in the box. Dzeko redirected the ball on target, but United goalkeeper David De Gea saved spectacularly to keep his side within one goal.
At the other end, Marouane Fellaini forced a save from Joe Hart with an audacious volley in the 24th minute. The big midfielder then drew a booking in the 30th minute for an elbow to the face of Pablo Zabaleta. Five minutes before half-time, United's Juan Mata blasted over the bar from the middle of the box.
Leading 1-0 at the break, City doubled their lead in the 56th minute via a corner. Dzeko was the scorer again, directing his run toward the near post before volleying into the net under little pressure from United's defence.
United created their best chance in the 72nd minute as Rafael picked out Danny Welbeck with a cross from the right. But Hart did well to save Welbeck's attempt and preserve City's two-goal lead.
As Old Trafford emptied out in the final minutes, Toure made it 3-0 with a low finish at the far post to seal City's convincing victory.
“We’re very happy about 5 clean sheets in a row. We've to play 9 games & it’s important to continue this way” - @MCFC boss Manuel Pellegrini— Premier League (@premierleague) March 25, 2014
"They scored after 30 seconds & that made it an uphill task. We need to play better & come up a couple of levels” - @ManUtd boss David Moyes— Premier League (@premierleague) March 25, 2014
|David De Gea||8||7|
|Shinji Kagawa (for Cleverley, 46')||N/A||5|
|Antonio Valencia (for Fellaini, 66')||N/A||6|
|Javier Hernandez (for Welbeck, 77')||N/A||6|
Ratings by B/R UK
|Javi Garcia (for Navas, 68')||N/A||8|
|Alvaro Negredo (for Dzeko, 79')||N/A||6|
|James Milner (for Nasri, 74')||N/A||7|
Ratings by B/R UK
Manchester United host Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday and host Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals next Tuesday.
Manchester City play at Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday.