City dominate United in League Cup semi

Riyad Mahrez (c) celebrates scoring Manchester City's second goal against Manchester United

Trailing 3-0 at home to their fierce local rivals in the League Cup semi-final, Manchester United's players were jeered by their own supporters as they traipsed off at halftime.

It was - as United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attested afterward - the team's worst 45 minutes of the season, the latest example of the gulf which has opened up between the blue and red halves of Manchester.

In the end, City came away from Old Trafford on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory but with hint of frustration that the score wasn't even bigger after a one-sided first leg.

"Of course, Manchester United can come back," City manager Pep Guardiola said, looking ahead to the second leg at Etihad Stadium on January 29.

"They have the shirt which means history and pride."

Guardiola will know, however, that this tie should be over.

Holders City put on a first-half clinic, netting three goals from the 19th to the 38th minutes and looking like scoring every time the team went forward.

Guardiola didn't play a recognised striker, instead flooding his midfield in order to dominate possession and spring forward in attack.

"We win and we're a genius but if we don't win I know what will happen," Guardiola said.

United couldn't cope.

"We didn't deal with their system well enough," Solskjaer said.

When the visitors went 3-0 up courtesy of an own-goal by Andreas Pereira, memories were revived of the 6-1 win served up on this ground by Roberto Mancini's City in 2011 that was one signal of the shifting of the balance of soccer power in Manchester.

It was the first time since 1997 that United conceded three first-half goals in a match at home.

However, United managed to avoid conceding any more goals and a 70th-minute strike by Marcus Rashford gave Solskjaer's team a glimmer of hope heading into the second leg.

Both sides made reference post-match to United advancing from the Champions League round of 16 last season after losing 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain at home in the first leg.

"We've shown before we have been down from a home tie and turned it around," Solskjaer said.

"PSG is the latest example and we have to believe that we can put on a performance."

Away goals do not count double if the aggregate score is tied after two legs in the League Cup.

"Football is crazy, anything can happen," City defender Kyle Walker said.

"But we're in a good position."

Aston Villa take on Leicester City in the first leg of the other semi-final on Wednesday.