Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson went to war with Roberto Mancini as Vincent Kompany's first-half header earned a 1-0 derby victory and sent Manchester City top of the Barclays Premier League.
Victory at Newcastle on Sunday, followed by another at home to QPR on the final day will, barring a mathematical miracle, be enough to secure the Blues their first title since 1968.
And clearly the prospect does not please Ferguson, who approached his opposite number in a finger-jabbing fury after Nigel de Jong had brought down Danny Welbeck in the second half.
City pushed United back as the first half wore on, with Sergio Aguero screwing a volley wide, before Pablo Zabaleta seized on an opportunity he would have been better leaving for Samir Nasri.
The winner arrived on the stroke of half-time when David Silva curled over a corner and Chris Smalling momentarily lost Kompany, who planted his header high into the net.
United almost found themselves two down when David De Gea came for a corner without getting near it and Nasri ended up curling wide of the far post.
Even when the Red Devils did build some attacking momentum, their final pass was either off-target or overhit.
Yaya Toure thrashed a long-range effort wide, his shot close enough to have De Gea scrambling across his goal, while United seemed to have precious few ideas about prising their opponents open.
De Jong's foul on Welbeck brought a yellow card for the Dutchman and sparked the furious touchline row between Ferguson and Mancini.
Toure came agonisingly close to grabbing a second for the Blues and De Gea made an excellent save to deny Gael Clichy. And despite five minutes' stoppage time, the Blues cruised home, with United failing to muster a single shot on target in the match.