It was intense, physical and highly competitive but, in the end the 170th Manchester meeting ended in a dull derby stalemate at OT.
United substitute Jesse Lingard almost wrote himself into club folklore when he hit the bar late on, and Chris Smalling was also denied by Joe Hart in the dying minutes, but the disappointing draw saw Manuel Pellegrini's side return to the top of the Premier League.
Juan Mata was restored to United's starting line-up and the Spaniard unsuccessfully appealed for an early spot-kick when Fernandinho almost handled the ball.
The first real opening of the match fell to City through Raheem Sterling who saw his deflected effort go wide without troubling David de Gea.
In truth the opening 45 minutes failed to yield more than a handful of chances, the best of which fell to Yaya Toure when he headed wide from Kevin De Bruyne's corner on the half hour.
Louis van Gaal's side almost broke the deadlock four minutes in the second half when Ander Herrera fired narrowly wide before Sterling survived another penalty appeal following a clumsy challenge on Herrera.
From the resultant corner, Chris Smalling nodded inches wide with the onrushing Morgan Schneiderlin unable to turn the ball home on the stretch.
United upped the urgency in pursuit of a famous win, frequently finding joy through the pace and tricky of Anthony Martial on the left wing.
LVG introduced Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard and it was the academy graduate who almost stole the show in sublime fashion when he latched onto Martial's exquisitely lofted pass to clip an acrobatic shot over Hart and onto the bar.
Smalling then brought a fine save out of Hart with a low effort from Fellaini's flick on in what proved to be the final opportunity of the match.
United Faithful man of the match: Marcos Rojo. Kept £55m man De Bruyne quiet throughout and was excellent both defensively and in attack.
Overall team performance: 7.5/10