Kompany saw red for a last-man foul on Nikica Jelavic, but David Silva put City ahead with a glorious curling effort just four minutes later and Edin Dzeko made sure of victory at the death.

It was City's first league match for three weeks and they still have two games in hand on Chelsea, although the leaders can reassert their nine-point advantage with victory at Aston Villa later on Saturday.

City's success at the KC Stadium also saw them climb to second place above Liverpool, who visit Manchester United on Sunday, and Arsenal, who travel to Tottenham Hotspur later the same day.

"We needed to win today and playing with one player less for 80 minutes is very difficult, but I think we did a very good performance," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who saw his side eliminated from both the FA Cup and the Champions League earlier this week.

"We defended well with and without the ball, but we also attacked a lot. It was a very professional response from the players."

City were missing top scorer Sergio Aguero due to injury and they received a further setback in the 10th minute when Kompany was given his marching orders.

Jelavic appeared to foul Kompany as they jostled for possession, but play was allowed to continue and when the City captain hauled the Croatian down, referee Lee Mason immediately brandished the red card.

Kompany kicked out at a door in frustration as he stalked down the tunnel, but City reacted in stirring fashion, with Silva gathering a pass from Yaya Toure and arcing a beautiful shot inside the left-hand post from 25 yards.

Visiting right-back Pablo Zabaleta then saw a tremendous volley hit the bar and bounce on the goal-line, but Hull finished the first half strongly.

- Dzeko at second attempt

Jelavic had earlier put a volley wide from an Ahmed Elmohamady cross and after David Meyler had seen a goal ruled out for offside, Jake Livermore drilled a shot just off-target from long range.

Joe Hart saved from Shane Long, twice, and Jelavic early in the second period, while substitute George Boyd had a penalty appeal turned down after tumbling over a challenge by the City goalkeeper.

Fernandinho spurned a gilt-edged chance to double City's lead when he scuffed wide from only 10 yards, but Hart saved from Boyd and Jelavic to preserve the visitors' advantage.

Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor prevented Dzeko from putting the game to bed in the closing stages, but the Bosnian atoned in the last minute by sweeping home from Silva's incisive pass.

Kompany expressed his pride -- and perhaps relief -- via Twitter, writing: "Proud of the guys! Phenomenal shift they have put in again!"

Meanwhile, bottom club Fulham gave their chances of avoiding relegation a boost with a 1-0 win at home to Newcastle United that kept them four points from safety.

Ashkan Dejagah's swerving 68th-minute shot crept beneath visiting goalkeeper Tim Krul to consign Newcastle to defeat on the day manager Alan Pardew began a seven-game ban for headbutting Hull midfielder Meyler.

West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel tasted victory for the first time as an 85th-minute Youssouf Mulumbu goal saw his side complete a 2-1 comeback win at Swansea City that sent them three points clear of the drop zone.

Sunderland remain in the bottom three after a 0-0 draw at home to Crystal Palace, but they moved above Cardiff City, who fell to an injury-time Seamus Coleman strike in a cruel 2-1 defeat at Everton.

Goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Sam Gallagher saw Southampton beat Norwich City 4-2, while Peter Odemwingie scored twice as Stoke City sank West Ham United 3-1 at the Britannia Stadium.