Before tonight’s game at the Etihad many waxed lyrical about the beauty of Napoli’s philosophy.
Some said Maurizio Sarri’s troops were the only team in the world capable of matching Man City in terms of attractive, attacking football.
The Neapolitan side are the only team in Europe’s top five leagues with a 100% record having won all eight of their Serie A fixtures.
But it took just 13 minutes for Pep Guardiola’s men to prove they’re in a class of their own once again.
The hosts took the lead after just eight minutes through Raheem Sterling.
Leroy Sane and David Silva combined down the left flank before the latter pulled the ball and back and found Kyle Walker of all people lingering near the penalty spot.
Kalidou Koulibaly blocked the right-back’s side-footed effort but Sterling was on hand to lash home the rebound.
Five minutes later City played their way out from Ederson on goal, through the defence and ultimately a loose ball was pounced on by the mesmeric Kevin De Bruyne.
The Belgian genius burst into the box and produced yet another inch-perfect pass for Gabriel Jesus to tap home.
The visitors looked visibly shellshocked by City’s incisive football and relentless high press.
They played their famous quick passing in the opening 20 seconds and that was it.
From then on out they were restricted to relatively nonthreatening attacks until they were gifted a penalty when Kyle Walker bizarrely grappled Raul Albiol under his own bar.
Dries Mertens smashed his penalty straight at Ederson who improved his popularity even further among City fans by preserving his clean sheet with a leg save.
City could easily been three or four goals to the good before the interval and yet they could also have had their lead halved just as easily.
However, it was not the tight contest many had expected and the rest of Europe will be looking at City while trying to hide their fear.
A gripping first half — more of the same please…