Manchester City 2-1 Napoli: Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus score in hard-fought win for City
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 18/10/17 7:32am
Manchester City edged past Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory to maintain their perfect start in the competition this season.
Pep Guardiola's side continued their rampant scoring from the weekend with two quick goals, as Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus put the hosts ahead early on.
But after Ederson saved a penalty from Dries Mertens in the first half, Napoli did pull a goal back from the spot in the second period after Fernandinho fouled Faouzi Ghoulam in the box, with Amadou Diawara converting.
City managed to hold out for the win, though, and make it three victories from three Champions League games so far this, while Napoli remain third in Group F with three points.
It took City less than 10 minutes to open the scoring. Kyle Walker's initial shot was saved by the legs of Kalidou Koulibaly, but the rebound fell to the waiting Sterling who made no mistake in slotting home past Pepe Reina.
Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (7), Stones (7), Delph (7), Otamendi (7), De Bruyne (7), D Silva (7), Fernandinho (7), Sterling (7), Sane (8), Jesus (7).
Subs used: B Silva (5), Gundogan (5), Danilo (n/a).
Napoli: Reina (7), Hysaj (7), Koulibaly (7), Ghoulam (7), Albiol (7), Hamsik (7), Zielinski (6), Diawara (6), Callejon (6), Mertens (7), Insigne (6).
Subs used: Allan (6), Maggio (5), Ounas (4).
Man of the match: Leroy Sane.
Four minutes later, and the hosts surged into a 2-0 lead. A poor defensive header from Raul Alibol landed at the feet of Kevin De Bruyne, who's whipped cross passed the outstretched foot of the Napoli defender before finding Jesus, allowing the Brazilian to score his fifth goal in his last three games for club and country.
Man City could have added more to their tally but goal-line technology was called into action to deny them. De Bruyne hammered a volley onto the underside of the crossbar in the 26th minute - seeing it land on the wrong side of the goal line - before Jesus' effort on the turn was blocked on the line by Koulibaly and cleared, with replays showing the ball did not go all the way over.
Napoli were handed a golden chance to reduce the deficit in the 38th minute as they were awarded a penalty after Alibol was fouled in the area by Walker. However, Ederson made a superb save with his legs to deny Mertens from the spot before Fernandinho hacked the rebounded ball to safety.
Pep Guardiola named an unchanged XI for the third successive game in all competitions. Napoli made two changes with Pitor Zielinski and Amadou Diawara coming into the side.
Chances were rare in the second half as Napoli found their feet in the game, and they could have scored in the 66th minute. Mertens latched onto a loose ball in the box, before squaring to Marek Hamsik in the middle. With an open goal at his mercy, he struck, but John Stones threw his body in front on the ball to send it wide.
But they finally found the breakthrough seven minutes later when they were awarded another penalty after Fernandinho tripped Ghoulam in the box. Diawara was the man to step up this time and expertly dispatched his spot-kick into the bottom corner and score his first senior goal.
However, Napoli could not muster another goal as City saw the game out to take another three Champions League points.
- In all competitions, Manchester City have now recorded 10 consecutive victories; equaling their previous best run under Pep Guardiola (10 wins at the start of 2016/17).
- Manchester City have also won three consecutive home games in the Champions League for the first time, and are now unbeaten in their last 11 overall (W8 D3).
- Pep Guardiola's side have the best goal difference of any team in the top five European leagues in all competitions this season (+33).
- Manchester City's starting XI tonight was their youngest in the Champions League under Pep Guardiola (26y 73d), and their youngest in the competition overall since October 2012 (25y 309d v Borussia Dortmund).
Man of the match - Leroy Sane
It was another stellar performance from Sane on Tuesday, and he was a constant menace down the left flank, even when Napoli started to match City in the game. He was always involved in the attacking moves for the hosts, with De Bruyne continuously seeking him out down the wings with one of his sumptuous lofted passes.
Sane was always looking to set up a team-mate too, often looking cross rather than shoot, and although an official assist did not come his way, he played an integral part of the victory.
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Man City are back in Premier League action on Saturday when they host Burnley at the Etihad Stadium while Napoli welcome Inter Milan in Serie A.