Man City hold off Napoli 2-1
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
It started with a typical rush of goals. It ended with some last-ditch clearances and the rare feeling of relief at the final whistle.
After swatting aside all comers this season, Manchester City finally were given their first real test in the shape of Italian league leader Napoli and emerged with a 2-1 win in the Champions League yesterday.
It is 10 straight wins for City in all competitions. None has been so hard-earned.
"We have faced one of the best teams of my career, probably the best," City manager Pep Guardiola, insisting he wasn't just handing out cheap praise. "That's why it's one of the wins I am most proud in my career."
A match-up between the leading and highest-scoring teams in England and Italy lived up to its billing, a breathless encounter swaying from early City dominance to a comeback from Napoli that would have yielded a draw had the visitors converted both of their penalties.
Masterful 7-2 win
Goals by Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus put City 2-0 ahead by the 13th minute. Three days after a masterful 7-2 win over Stoke in the Premier League, City looked like racking up another big win this time against one of the form teams in Europe.
Sterling side-footed home left-footed in the eighth minute after Kyle Walker's goal-bound shot, off a cross by David Silva, was blocked. It was his eighth goal in 11 matches this season, a record that was soon matched by Jesus when the striker tapped in from De Bruyne's cross.
De Bruyne, City's star player this season from central midfield, struck the crossbar from long range and Jesus had a shot cleared off the line. Napoli were holding on and a team lacking two of its star midfielders - Allan and Jorginho were rested in view of a big Serie A game against Inter Milan at the weekend -was being outclassed.
By the half-hour mark, though, Napoli had worked out how to beat City's press and finally started to pose the English team some problems. Guardiola's side met its match and needed plenty of grit and hard work to preserve its lead.