Sir Alex Ferguson once said 'Football, bloody hell' and he would have been left uttering it again at the Etihad after his Man United side snatched a 3-2 win over Man City in the dying minutes thanks to a Robin Van Persie free-kick.
The Red Devils extended their lead at the top of the Premier League over their neighbours to six points after a whirlwind game full of incident.
City dominated the opening exchanges but did not carve out any clear cut chances and were soon made to pay for it as Wayne Rooney showed how it was done latching on to Ashley Young's pass to steer home after a rapid counter-attack in the 10th minute.
Roberto Mancini’s had taken a gamble in starting Mario Balotelli and it did not pay off with the Italian sulking throughout. The striker was fortunate not to get booked after he scythed down Jonny Evans after just 13 minutes.
Things went from bad to worse for City after captain Vincent Kompany limped off and after 28 minutes many of the home fans would have thought it was game over after Rooney doubled his tally.
United broke rapidly again and Rafael picked out the England forward who calmly slotted the ball past Joe Hart.
It was a surprise to see Balotelli reemerge after half-time but his stay lasted only five minutes as Mancini replaced his compatriot with Carlos Tevez.
It was a vindicated decision as the Argentine quickly made a nuisance of himself against his former club.
However, it was United who almost went further ahead as Van Persie jinked his way into space to curl an effort off the post. Young reacted quickest to put the rebound in but was wrongly adjudged to have been offside.
Games are decided on such decisions and just three minutes later Yaya Toure grabbed City a lifeline. Despite a superb double save from David De Gea, the Spaniard could not perform a third as Toure met Tevez's square ball with aplomb.
All of a sudden City sensed an opportunity and Silva was unfortunate to see his effort deflected onto the bar via De Gea's shoulder.
With minutes remaining Paulo Zabaleta must have thought he had snatched a point after United failed to clear their lines and the Argentine drilled the ball in through a crowd of players.
However, just like so many times before United refused to lay down and after being awarded a free-kick deep into injury time, up stepped the Van Persie to write his name into the Manchester folkore and deal City their first home defeat in two years.
There was controversy after the goal as fans managed to get on the pitch and Rio Ferdinand was left with a cut to his left eye after being struck by something thrown from the crow but the day belonged to United and their late heroics once again.