The noisy neighbours go on the rampage at Old Trafford, scoring six to put Roberto Mancini's side five points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of their rivals
Sergio Aguero and David Silva were also on the scoresheet for City, while Edin Dzeko added a brace, with Jonny Evans getting sent off for the Old Trafford side and Darren Fletcher gaining a late consolation, as they were comprehensively defeated by their local rivals and title challengers.
Both sides showed their intent from the off, starting with attacking line-ups, which included Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck leading the line for the home side, while their so-called noisy neighbours went for the controversial Balotelli and Aguero as the goal threat going into the derby.
The visitors started off the brightest, with Argentine hitman Aguero putting his former Atletico Madrid team-mate David de Gea under pressure within the first minute, getting a touch on the keeper’s clearance, which led to a chance that Aguero failed to capitalise on.
The game, played in a cauldron of noise inside Old Trafford, then swung back and forth, with the champions gaining the advantage, especially in the midfield area, as they looked to get forward, with Ashley Young being the focal point as the winger raced down the left wing, taking on Micah Richards early on.
Just before the quarter of an hour mark Manchester City had a superb chance as Silva raced into the home box and with three United defenders surrounding the Spaniard, he managed to evade them, with the ball seemingly sticking to his foot before Jonny Evans got back to cover the midfielder.
Despite having the lion’s share of the possession, the home side could not find a way to get a shot at Joe Hart’s goal and were made to pay when James Milner got the ball on the left hand side of the area and cut it back to Balotelli, who slotted the ball home expertly to put the visitors into the lead.
The Italian then found himself on the wrong side of referee Mark Clattenburg’s wreath, for putting his blue Manchester City top over his head to reveal a ‘Why always me?’ message on his t-shirt underneath.
They could have gone two ahead, as Aguero got the ball on the right touchline and floated the ball across, but unfortunately for Mancini’s side it could not be put into the net and was eventually cleared from danger by the Manchester United defence.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side looked to get back into the game, with their main dangerman being Young, who had an effort from just outside the box that failed to trouble Hart in the City goal as the ball went wide of his left hand post and out for a goal kick.
Hart was finally made to make his first save of the match with over half an hour gone in the game, as he punched out a corner from the left, straight into the path of Anderson, but the
Brazilian midfielder could only put his strike back into the palms of the England goalkeeper.
With five minutes left in the half and with their fans getting anxious, the home side were forced to settle for strikes from outside the area as the Manchester City defence stood strong, meaning that Anderson was forced to try his luck from the edge of the box after a move had broken down, but once again it failed to trouble Hart.
Mancini’s side continued to stay solid at the back while looking to attack on the break and hold on to their precious lead as they went into the half-time break a goal ahead of their city rivals.
Within the first minute of the second half things went from bad to worse for the home side as Aguero put a ball through towards goal, with Balotelli getting on the wrong side of Evans, with the Northern Irishman pulling the forward’s shirt on the edge of the box, leaving referee Clattenburg with no choice but to send the centre-back off.
Balotelli then took the resulting free kick, but the Italian could not make the champions pay for their error, as his strike cannoned off the wall, then Richards' attempt from the rebound was cleared from danger.
It could have got even worse for Sir Alex’s side as Richards raced into the box and went down under a challenge from Anderson, but Clattenburg waved away the appeals of the visiting side, saying that the contact between the two was incidental.
The home side’s only chance during the first few minutes of the half came as a result of a long ball played to Welbeck, but the young striker could not make anything of the opportunity as no player in red was anywhere near the England striker and ultimately City got the ball clear.
The ball then raced to the other end, where Richards had another opportunity after the full-back was put in on goal by Balotelli, but he could not find a way beyond the home defence to put De Gea under any real pressure.
Being both a goal down and a man down, the home side re-jigged their side with Rooney moving into midfield and Fletcher moving into the right-back position, but even though they were being pushed back by their neighbours they attempted to get forward, but still could not beat Hart in the visiting goal.
Then just before the hour mark the blue half of Manchester were given further joy to celebrate as Silva raced into the box before finding the onrushing Milner on the right wing, who then crossed to the unmarked Balotelli, and he tapped in at the back post to double the visitors' lead.
They could have had a third minutes later as Richards played the ball to Silva, who beat his man before whipping in a cross that Chris Smalling was forced to clear before Balotelli could tap home for his hat-trick.
That put Sir Alex into action as he decided to shake things up by bringing on both Phil Jones and Javier Hernandez for the ineffective pair of Anderson and Nani as the home side looked to find a way back into the Manchester derby.
But instead of getting back into the game they went further behind as Richards received the ball on the right wing, crossing to the back post for Aguero to nod home and race towards the sea of blue fans in the corner to celebrate City’s third of the day.
City continued to put their local rivals under pressure, as Edin Dzeko, who had replaced Balotelli minutes earlier, had a chance that went just wide of De Gea’s goal.
They kept going forward looking for a fourth goal, with Silva going close, then De Gea having to get down well in order to save from Dzeko as the Bosnian striker went one-on-one with the keeper after being put through on goal.
With 10 minutes left in the game the home side finally found a goal to give their fans something to cheer about, as Fletcher played a one-two with Hernandez and the Scotland captain then proceeded to curl the ball round Hart and into the top of the Manchester City goal to reduce the deficit.
Mancini’s side were content to hang on for the remainder of the game, slowing down the play at any opportunity, which brought roars of anger from the home support, as they were desperate to see their side close the gap on their city rivals.
With two minutes left in the game the visitors finally got their fourth of the game as a corner from the left found Joleon Lescott at the back post and he put it into Dzeko, who hit the ball with his knee and into the net.
The humiliation was complete a minute later as Dzeko turned from goalscorer to provider as he put through Silva, who slotted the ball through De Gea's legs to give the visitors their fifth goal of a famous derby victory.
Then, deep into injury time, it became even worse as Silva found Dzeko, who slotted the ball past De Gea to complete a terrible day for Sir Alex's side as they were humbled by their noisy neighbours.
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