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In United's first home match since their 5-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool, they were once again blown away in front of their fans by one of their biggest rivals.
But City's second goal, which their first-half dominance deserved, arrived on the stroke of half-time as Silva took advantage of Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw switching off to latch on to another Cancelo cross and sneak the ball past de Gea.
Jadon Sancho was introduced at half-time but to no avail as City continued their superiority in the second period.
Despite failing to add to their tally, City were in total control in the second half and United didn't create a chance of note.
Ronaldo picked up a late booking for a lunge on Kevin De Bruyne.