Manchester City rely on early goals to overcome Napoli in Champions League

Manchester City extended their perfect record in Group F with a display that saw them purring up though the attacking gears before finding themselves reeled in by high-class, fast-breaking opponents. Goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus inside the first quarter of an hour had suggested another free-scoring Sky Blue romp. But by the end Napoli could feel hard done by in a game where the score really could have been anything and a missed first-half penalty by Dries Mertens proved crucial.

On a mild, still night in Manchester the ground was boisterously full, with a ripple of expectation around those steeply tiered stands at the sight of Pep Guardiola’s evolving scoring machine. City faced another bunch of dashers. Top of Serie A with eight wins out of eight, Napoli have set off like a train, revelling off their own slick, pacy “Sarri-ball”, a direct, hard-running style that promised plenty of space in behind.

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