Erling Haaland has scored twice and set up a third as Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-0 in the Premier League to again showcase the gap between the teams.
Defending champions City put in a dominant performance at Old Trafford in the 191st Manchester derby on Sunday (Monday AEDT) to add to the growing pressure on United manager Erik ten Hag.
It was United’s seventh loss of the season in all competitions and leaves them 11 points adrift of Ange Postecoglou’s leaders Tottenham in the league.
City’s win moved them to within two points of Spurs at the top and they looked ominously good, with Haaland scoring a dubious first-half penalty and then doubling the visitors’ lead with a header shortly after halftime.
“The first half we played very good, we defended very well. We had good breaks, good opportunities but we could have taken more benefit. Then the penalty changes the game,” Ten Hag told BBC Sport.
“We had to go offensive in the second half, we wanted to be more compact. We know they would press us, go high and go direct.
“The second goal (took the game away from us). It came too early and then we’re making the wrong decisions. We spoke about not pressing the keepers when it was not possible.
“The first half I think things went the way we wanted. The second half, at 2-0, you have to go against them out of shape and when you don’t they will find the spare man. We have to be better organised.
“We are on the way up, the start was difficult but now we are on the way up,” the Dutch coach insisted.
“When injuries are getting back we will be getting stronger. We have to be patient, but I am happy with some injuries coming back.”
Haaland provided the cross for Phil Foden to complete the scoring and prompt United fans to leave the stadium early.
“It looks easy but it is not. It really, really is not,” City manager Pep Guardiola said.
“(I have) a lot of respect for United for what they do, but we were at our best, especially in the second half.”
He has now scored 13 goals in all competitions this season and might have had more if not for the efforts of United goalkeeper Andre Onana, who produced a number of fine saves to keep City at bay.
Before kick-off, both teams had come together to commemorate United great Bobby Charlton, who died earlier this month. Past players from both sides of the city entered the field to join in a moment of applause.
In one stand United fans were invited to raise white paper that read out “Sir Bobby” in giant lettering. Elsewhere a huge banner was unfurled with a picture of him lifting the European Cup trophy in 1968.
Earlier, Liverpool had shown their support for the plight of striker Luis Diaz during a comfortable 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the Premier League.
Quickfire goals from Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez before the break and Mohamed Salah’s second-half effort helped Jurgen Klopp’s side maintain their 100 per cent league home record this season.
Jota ran to grab Diaz’s number seven shirt from Klopp after scoring, with the Colombian not featuring in Liverpool’s squad following reports his parents had been kidnapped in his homeland.
Liverpool’s latest victory – their eighth in a row in all competitions at Anfield – was their seventh from 10 league games in this campaign and lifted them back to within three points of Spurs in fourth place.
At West Ham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s landmark second-half strike secured a 1-0 win for Everton.
The striker scored six minutes after halftime at the London Stadium on Sunday (Monday AEDT) as Everton won for only the third time in the league this season.
For Calvert-Lewin, who has had to contend with a slew of injuries, it was his 50th league goal for the club as he joined Romelu Lukaku, Duncan Ferguson and Tim Cahill in reaching the half-century mark.
Aston Villa maintained their strong start to the season with a dominating 3-1 victory over newcomers Luton, their fifth win in six league games.
John McGinn, Moussa Diaby and an own goal from Luton captain Tom Lockyer made it a comfortable afternoon’s work for Villa, before a consolation 83rd minute own goal from the home goalie Emiliano Martinez.
In the day’s other game, Fulham escaped with a 1-1 draw at Brighton, who dominated the first half to go in one-up through an Evan Ferguson goal but were then pegged back by a stunning Joao Palhinha equaliser in the 65th minute.