Manchester City remain perfect in the Champions League group stage and have qualified for the knockout stages thanks to a 4-2 win over Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium in what was without a doubt the best game in the Champions League this season. Maybe in all seasons.
City had a very bad start to the game, easily conceding possession and suffering a lot of pressure from Napoli, who did a wonderful job of paaing the ball and forcing City into mistakes with their high pressing. Napoli’s pressure eventually got them a goal when Lorenzo Insigne made a wonderful one-two with Dries Mertens and beat Ederson for the opener.
The goal woke up the Blues, who began to control possession and started to commit many bodies forward into Napoli’s half, and the Italians were forced to defend deep and couldn’t press as well. City had a couple of half-chances with Sergio Agüero, and they got an equalizer when Nicolas Otamendi headed a corner into the net. John Stones nearly but City ahead with a header of his own, but the crossbar denied him.
At halftime, a very entertaining game had two goals and many more chances. Just really fun to watch.
The second half started very well for City, with a wonderful cross from Leroy Sané finding John Stones inside the box; Stones hit the bar again with a header, but this time the ball bounced down and cross the line before Pepe Reina got his hands on it. The Blues were ahead early in the final period, and now Napoli needed to go forward even more and would leave huge space for City to attack.
But City shot themselves in the foot with a bad penalty from Sané, and Jorginho made it 2-2 at the San Paolo with 30 minutes to go. The game was still wide open, and City went ahead once again when a lightning quick counter-attack was finished by Sergio Agüero, who scored a classic Agüero goal to become City’s all-time top scorer.
City’s plan in the final minutes was clear and simple: pass the heck out of the ball until the end and avoid conceding big chances to Napoli. The plan worked very well, and City managed to get through the last moments without much trouble, and they even added a fourth goal through Raheem Sterling to truly end the game.
This was a truly incredible game, and one that will be in our memories for a while. And the best part: City won!
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam (Maggio); Allan (Rog), Jorginho (Ounas), Hamsik; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne
Goals: Insigne (21’), Jorginho (62’)
Man City: Ederson; Danilo, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; Fernandinho; Sterling, De Bruyne, Gundogan (Silva), Sané (Jesus); Agüero (Bernardo)
Goals: Otamendi (34’), Stones (48’), Agüero (69’), Sterling (90’+2)