An unforgettable clash of the Manchester giants for many reasons, but the injury to Colin Bell overshadowed all else on what should have been a joyous night for City fans.
The newly promoted-United had already secured a 2-2 draw at Maine Road six weeks earlier and arrived in Moss Side in confident mood for a place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
But it was City who dominated and ran out emphatic winners with goals from Dennis Tueart (2), Joe Royle and Asa Hartford delighting the majority of the 50,182 crowd.
Sadly, Martin Buchan’s mis-timed challenge on Bell was effectively the beginning of the end for the City legend and even a 4-0 win over the old enemy couldn’t erase the sad sight of the Club's greatest player being stretchered off with a knee injury and his career in tatters.
Peter Barnes and Mike Channon are on target but City continue to slide down the table after a 3-2 home defeat to Leeds United at Maine Road.
Scots Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen are on the score-sheet in a pulsating War of the Roses watched by almost 43,000 fans. City, who had topped the table just six weeks before, slip to eighth as a result.
Mel Machin’s City beat Watford 3-1 at Maine Road. Wayne Biggins (2) and Paul Moulden are on the scoresheet as Machin’s side challenge for promotion from the second tier. The win over the Hornets will be the start of an excellent run, with a youthful City winning 11 of their next 15 matches, drawing three and losing just one.