Manchester City have secured their spot in the knockout round of the Champions League with two games to spare courtesy of a 4-2 win away to Napoli on Wednesday night.
City entered the match knowing that a point would be enough to book their spot in the round of 16, but they collected all three on a night where Sergio Aguero became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer on 178 goals.
City boss Pep Guardiola made four changes to the team that started against West Bromwich Albion in the league at the weekend. Danilo replaced Kyle Walker in defence, while Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Aguero came in for David Silva, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus, who all dropped to the bench.
As for Napoli, Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne started as the front three once again, while Kalidou Koulibaly was back at centre-back after being rested in Serie A at the weekend.
A fast start from City saw both Leroy Sane and Sterling find space inside the Napoli box in the opening four minutes, but neither could release a strike. The first shot of the match eventually came from Marek Hamsik in the sixth minute, although his effort was comfortable for Ederson.
Both teams had their moments in what was a very lively first 15 minutes, but Napoli were creating the better chances – Mertens firing at Ederson from a wide angle after another smart move.
Indeed, it was the home side that made the breakthrough in the 21st minute when Insigne played a one-two with Mertens inside the City box before finding the back of the net with a super finish.
The visitors had a super chance to level the scores in the 32nd minute when Aguero found space inside the Napoli box after a fast break, but the Argentine’s effort hit Raul Albiol before deflecting just wide of Pepe Reina’s post.
City were level two minutes later, however, when Otamendi rose highest inside the Napoli box to head a Sane cross into the bottom corner of the net.
Guardiola’s team should have scored a second in the 39th minute when Otamendi again found space inside the Napoli box, but the Argentine somehow could not convert, before John Stones headed against the crossbar moments later.
Stones was not to be denied early in the second period, however, as the England international’s towering header hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing over the line as City took a 2-1 lead.
Napoli came close to levelling in the 56th minute when Insigne struck a powerful effort from distance, but the Italian’s effort smashed off the crossbar during a strong spell for the home side.
The Italian outfit did equalise just past the hour, however, when Jorginho scored from the penalty spot after Albiol had been brought to the ground by Sane inside the penalty box.
City regained the lead in the 69th minute though when a sensational counter-attack, which was led by Sane, eventually saw Aguero finish into the bottom corner as the Argentine became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Napoli pressed forward in the latter stages as the hosts looked to avoid already their third defeat in Group F, but it was City that scored the game’s sixth goal in the 92nd minute when Sterling finished into the far corner after another fast break.