Match ends, Manchester United 1, Manchester City 2.
Pep Guardiola emerged victorious from his first Premier League battle with old adversary Jose Mourinho as Manchester City secured a fully deserved win in a frantic Old Trafford derby.
Kevin de Bruyne's cool finish and Kelechi Iheanacho's tap-in after the Belgian hit the post put City in complete control as they outclassed Mourinho's Manchester United for most of the opening 45 minutes.
United were handed a lifeline just before the break when City's debutant keeper Claudio Bravo summed up his desperately uncertain display by dropping a free-kick to allow Zlatan Ibrahimovic to pull a goal back.
They mounted an aerial siege in front of the Stretford End but City held firm to maintain their position at the top of the table, coming closest to scoring when De Bruyne struck an upright from Leroy Sane's pass.
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Guardiola strikes psychological blow
The long-time rivalry - and acrimony - between former Real Madrid manager Mourinho and ex-Barcelona boss Guardiola meant this fixture was ringed on the calendar from the moment it was announced.
A truce was called in the build-up to the game as Guardiola announced he would accept an invitation for a post-match glass of wine with Mourinho and there was an embrace when they met before kick-off.
And when the game started, Guardiola stalked his technical area, micro-managing every moment of City's approach, while Mourinho crouched and made notes as the game progressed.
The Spaniard will have been delighted to see such early superiority, a magnificent first 40 minutes of clinical passing and movement leaving United's midfield, including £89m world record buy Paul Pogba, as virtual passengers.
It was only that moment of indecision from Bravo that disrupted City - and Guardiola's congratulations for his players at the end were also an expression of delight for their resilience when the going got tough late on.
He showed his willingness to shore things up when he sent on Fernandinho for Iheanacho - but it was not such a good day for Mourinho.
The Portuguese gave summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan his first start in an unfamiliar right flank role and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Marcus Rashford after a nightmare first half.
Mourinho also brought on Ander Herrera for Jesse Lingard for the second half but City survived an improved United showing to maintain their flawless start to the season.
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Bravo the only blot on City's day
This was exactly how Pep Guardiola would have wanted it - a crucial victory that keeps Manchester City top of the Premier League table and marks them down already as the team to beat this season.
And in that opening half, City's hierarchy were able to sit back and watch the sort of football they had in mind when their long courting of Guardiola finally came to fruition.
City - without suspended striker Sergio Aguero - were simply in a different class to Mourinho's expensively reassembled Manchester United as they overran them in midfield, created space and chances while remaining cool under pressure.
It was only when Bravo's ill-judged dash to claim a free-kick and subsequent poor handling cost them a goal that they showed any signs of being unsettled.
The 33-year-old keeper was brought to Etihad Stadium in preference to Joe Hart, whose style did not find any favour with Guardiola.
One of Bravo's big selling points was supposedly his ability with the ball at his feet - but here he was shaky and indecisive, twice having to launch himself into desperate challenges on Mkhitaryan and Rooney after dawdling in possession.
Bravo is, however, a vastly experienced keeper whom Guardiola rates highly and so should be given time to settle.
Mourinho gets reality check
Jose Mourinho is a perfect fit for Old Trafford but this was never going to be a quick fix after the last three years of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
United look more physically imposing with the addition of players like Ibrahimovic, Pogba and defender Eric Bailly - but it is up front where he has the big dilemma.
Ibrahimovic is the main man but how does Mourinho fit in his array of attacking riches around him?
The United boss has Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Antony Martial, while he must also work out how to utilise Juan Mata and Mkhitaryan.
This selection looked mix and match - but Mourinho is a manager who specialises in finding successful solutions.
What the managers said
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: "We are happy. I think the spectators enjoyed it because it was open until the end. First half we were better - in the second half it was difficult. We had counter-attacks and we didn't finish.
"These guys have a heart - in the first half we won a lot of duels against a team physically stronger. In the second half, the long balls, you just pray because it's almost impossible to control that."
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: "The two halves were completely different. In the first half we were below the level to play this match. You have to be completely ready in terms of the speed of your thinking and decision-making.
"The second half was completely different. We were a team that had the courage and honesty and dignity to chase with pride the result which I think we deserved - we deserved a goal in the second half."
Man of the match
The stats you need to know
- Jose Mourinho has won just three of his 17 meetings with Pep Guardiola (D6 L8).
- Manchester City secured their 50th Manchester derby win in all competitions.
- Against Man City, Man Utd posted their fourth lowest home possession figure in the Premier League since 2003-04 (39.9%).
- Kevin de Bruyne has been directly involved in 32 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions for Man City (17 goals, 15 assists).
- Kelechi Iheanacho has scored nine goals from just 13 shots on target in the Premier League.
Who's up next?
Both teams kick off their European campaigns midweek, with City hosting Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Tuesday, before United travel to Feyenoord in the Europa League on Thursday.
- 1de Gea
- 25A Valencia
- 3BaillyBooked at 45mins
- 23ShawSubstituted forMartialat 81'minutes
- 27FellainiBooked at 52mins
- 22MkhitaryanSubstituted forHerreraat 45'minutes
- 10RooneyBooked at 83mins
- 14LingardSubstituted forRashfordat 45'minutes
- 9IbrahimovicBooked at 51mins
- 17De BruyneSubstituted forZabaletaat 90'minutes
- 25FernandinhoBooked at 90mins
- 21SilvaBooked at 41mins
- 7SterlingSubstituted forSanéat 60'minutes
- 72IheanachoSubstituted forRegesat 53'minutes
- Mark Clattenburg
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Manchester United 1, Manchester City 2.
Fernandinho (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).
Ander Herrera (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).
Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Claudio Bravo (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Bacary Sagna.
Attempt blocked. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini.
Foul by Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City).
Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Manchester City. Pablo Zabaleta replaces Kevin De Bruyne.
Attempt missed. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Nicolás Otamendi following a set piece situation.
Nolito (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).
Foul by Leroy Sané (Manchester City).
Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.