Hot-headed Marouane Fellaini saw red at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City remained ahead of their derby rivals in the race for Champions League qualification.
The Manchchester United midfielder was shown a straight red card for a late headbutt on Sergio Aguero as the points were shared between the top-four contenders.
United will continue to fight their near neighbours for a spot in Europe’s elite club competition next season but it looks increasingly as though winning the Europa League is their best route into the tournament.
Jose Mourinho made four changes to the side that won at Burnley at the weekend as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford led the line and Wayne Rooney had to settle for a substitute role.
Pep Guardiola was able to select Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Jesus for the first time since the forward broke his foot in February as he returned to the Manchester City bench.
The warning signs were there from the outset for Mourinho’s men and Aguero struck the foot of the post inside the opening 10 minutes following good work down the right from Kevin De Bruyne.
At the other end, the pace of Rashford and Frenchman Anthony Martial was frightening the City defenders as United looked to hit Guardiola’s side on the break after being pinned back for large periods.
Butterfingers goalkeeper Claudio Bravo continued to worry the home supporters as he flapped wildly at a Martial delivery while Mkhitaryan failed to slam home the rebound.
David De Gea continues to impress for the Red Devils and produced a fine save to deny Aguero from distance, showing good handling to ensure the rasping drive did not slip from his grasp.
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Battling midfielder Ander Herrera really should have sent the visitors in ahead at half time, finding himself totally unmarked at the back stick, only to put his header wide of the target and the score remained goalless.
De Bruyne grew into the match and began to roam more freely as he darted all over the pitch at the Etihad and linked up well with Leroy Sane in an attempt to break down the United resistance.
The boys from Old Trafford barely had a kick in the first 20 or so minutes of the second period and it was Bravo’s first involvement of the half that signalled the end of his game as he was stretchered off with an injury.
But he wasn’t the only one heading down the tunnel as Fellaini yet again showed his short fuse, moronically headbutting Aguero after a nothing challenge and leaving his team to finish the game with 10 men.
Guardiola sensed the game was there to be won in the final five minutes and got the crowd on their feet by re-introducing Jesus after his lengthy absence as tempers began to boil over.
Jesus nearly made a heroic return as he stuck the ball away at the death, only for the linesman to raise his flag and frustrate the City supporters by correctly denying them a dramatic victory.