Pep Guardiola's free-scoring Manchester City took a huge step towards the Champions League knockout stages as they edged to a thrilling 2-1 win over Group F rivals Napoli.
City have cruised to the top of the Premier League - netting 29 goals in eight league games this term - and any claims that Serie A's own in-form leaders could halt the hosts' fine run looked to have been put to bed inside the opening quarter of an hour at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola had predicted a "fascinating" contest and that it was, but poor Napoli initially had no answer to City's rampant attacking play as Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored early on.
Maurizio Sarri ignored his president's calls to rest key men for this match - with second-placed Inter visiting the San Paolo this weekend - but Dries Mertens' first notable contribution was to see a penalty saved.
However, as City stepped off the gas after the break, Napoli hit their stride and a second spot-kick - from Amadou Diawara - was converted to set up a dramatic finish.
The visitors could not then force an equaliser, but their second-half dominance will have given Guardiola food for thought as his side move on to nine points; the Etihad crowd certainly felt their nerves jangling in the closing stages.
City have never played out a goalless draw in a group game in this competition and it quickly became clear that Guardiola's unchanged side would maintain that entertaining record in a stunning display.
Sterling swept a finish beyond the wrongfooted Pepe Reina - for his eighth of the season - after Kyle Walker's close-range shot was blocked, with a second goal following just four minutes later through Jesus, who converted from Kevin De Bruyne's low, sweeping centre.
Having won each of their previous three home league games by a margin of five, City's momentum did not slow.
Sterling delayed his pass as the relentless hosts broke in numbers after a rare Napoli foray, but Leroy Sane had the patience and awareness to then pick out De Bruyne on the edge of the area for a thunderous drive that rattled the underside of the crossbar.
Goal-line technology confirmed that the Belgian's effort had not crossed the line and referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz was again checking his watch when Reina and Kalidou Koulibaly combined to scramble Jesus' strike away from the goalmouth.
Napoli looked to have been handed a route back into the game towards the end of the first half but, when Walker dragged Raul Albiol down, Ederson blocked Mertens' penalty and Fernandinho hacked clear.
The visitors momentarily gained a foothold in the tie, despite the miss, but only a vital Reina block kept Jesus from further extending City's lead.
10+ - Napoli have faced 10+ shots in a Champions League first half only five time, three of them against Manchester City. Shock.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 17, 2017
Although Napoli kicked on after the restart, forcing the home side back, chances for Sarri's men were initially few and far between and they were dealt a blow just before the hour mark as Lorenzo Insigne hobbled off.
City were seemingly caught out by their opponents' vast improvement, though, and Marek Hamsik looked destined to equal Diego Maradona's all-time Napoli scoring record when Mertens squared to his captain - with Ederson grounded - only for John Stones to make a brilliant diving block.
But the visitors did not have to wait much longer for their goal. Fernandinho's foul on Faouzi Ghoulam resulted in a second spot-kick and Diawara took on the responsibility, finally ending a run of six consecutive Champions League penalty saves from City goalkeepers.
Jesus thought he had restored the two-goal lead but strayed offside from De Bruyne's pass, before the midfielder tested Reina with a free-kick and Mertens dragged wide at the other end.
City saw out the victory, but they know they must head to the San Paolo in a fortnight - that prospect will feel rather more daunting now than it did at half-time, even if they need only a point in Italy to secure their progression.
Key Opta stats:
- In all competitions, Manchester City have now recorded 10 consecutive victories; equalling their previous best run under Pep Guardiola (10 wins at the start of 2016-17).
- Manchester City have won their opening three games of a European tournament for the first time since 2008-09 (in the UEFA Cup), however this is the first time they have achieved it in the Champions League.
- The Citizens have also won three consecutive home games in the Champions League for the first time, and are now unbeaten in their last 11 overall (W8 D3).
- Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in 21 goals in 20 starts in all competitions for Manchester City (15 goals, 6 assists).
- Raheem Sterling has already scored 8 goals in 11 appearances for Manchester City this season; two fewer than he did in 47 appearances last term (10).
- Manchester City goalkeepers have saved six of the last seven penalties that they have faced in the Champions League (three by Joe Hart, two by Willy Caballero and one by Ederson).
- Manchester City's starting XI tonight was their youngest in the Champions League under Pep Guardiola (26y 73d), and their youngest in the competition overall since October 2012 (25y 309d v Borussia Dortmund).
|I´ve fulfilled my dreams already – Klopp has no plans to coach Barcelona|
|Aubameyang will face Tottenham, Bosz confirms|
|Klopp expects Matip to face Chelsea, Lallana return getting ´nearer´|
|Berizzo looking to former Red Aspas to provide lessons for Sevilla|
|Mangala ready to pounce, but realistic on Man City playing time|
|Mendy injury means Aguero or Jesus for Guardiola|
|Guardiola sends ´big hug´ to ´amazing, so gentle´ Pulis|
|Tavecchio quits as head of FIGC, claims board have refused to resign|
|Benedetto facing Argentina World Cup KO with cruciate injury|
|Shape up! Heynckes reveals demand to Bayern star Vidal|
|Ramos sits out Madrid trip to APOEL|
|West Brom sack Pulis after wretched run|
|Lloris wants Spurs to forget title and focus on top four|
|Pogba no Gerrard yet, says Benitez|
|Guardiola will ´kill´ City stars if they get complacent|
|Ibrahimovic: My injury was worse than people know|
|Icardi like a ´raptor pouncing on its prey´, says Spalletti|
|City style suits me and thrills neutrals, says De Bruyne|
|Guardiola ready to risk Kompany for Man City after Stones´ injury|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|In-form Chelsea have regained hunger - Conte|
|Inter 2 Atalanta 0: Icardi brace sends Spalletti´s side second|
|Giampaolo promises more from ´extraordinary´ Sampdoria|
|Record-breaking Valencia tee up blockbuster Barcelona clash|
|Poor West Ham performance at Watford was to be expected - Moyes|
|We will see what happens in the future - Silva non-committal on Everton rumours|
|Stones can bounce back stronger - Kompany|
|Football needs to do more to combat racism - Boateng|
|Watford 2 West Ham 0: Misery for Moyes on Hammers bow|
|Unlucky 13: Benevento suffer record-breaking defeat|
|Juventus lost composure amid Sampdoria onslaught - Allegri|
|Sampdoria 3 Juventus 2: Champions slip further off the pace after thriller|
|Coleman confirmed as Sunderland boss|
|I was just injured - Belgium´s Nainggolan blasts ´stupid´ claims of feigned ailment|
|Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Losing streak snapped to ease pressure on Christiansen|
|Hughes backs Giggs for Wales job|
|Madrid confirm Ramos´ broken nose after derby clash|
|Kane wants to retire with Tottenham|
|Mourinho: Man United lacked balance with attacking line-up|
|Pastore not considering PSG exit to help World Cup chances|
|Wenger, Ozil & Sanchez uncertainty affecting Arsenal, says Seaman|
|Silva not surprised by Chelsea, Spurs interest in Richarlison|
|Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri on shortlist to replace Ventura|
|Perth Glory 0 Melbourne Victory 2: Visitors claim first A-League win of season|
|Marcelo unaware of Ramos-Ronaldo rift at Real Madrid|
|Neymar will take PSG´s next penalty - Cavani|
|Ranieri would consider coaching Italy|
|Postecoglou set for decision on Socceroos future|
|Championship Review: Millwall deny sloppy Sunderland, Wolves back on top|
|Simeone rallies around under-fire Griezmann|
|It´s a growth process - Montella optimistic despite Napoli loss|
|Spalletti happy at Inter, tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|Sarri defends sacked Ventura over Insigne´s Italy snub|
|Los Blank-os! Misfiring Real Madrid break new ground under Zidane|
|Zidane upbeat despite derby stalemate|
|Zidane unsure on Ramos absence with suspected broken nose|
|Mind the gap! Real Madrid must make history to retain LaLiga title|
|Napoli 2 AC Milan 1: Insigne stars after Italy snub as leaders move four points clear|
|Atletico Madrid 0 Real Madrid 0: Defences dominate in historic derby|
|Pjaca scores winner for Juventus Primavera on return from injury|
|Lions don´t recover like humans! - Ibrahimovic and Pogba thrilled to be back|
|Pogba was different class - Mourinho praises midfielder after impressive comeback|
|Competition is good – PSG boss Emery explains benching Mbappe|
|Klopp apologises after Moreno misses birth of child|
|Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1: Pogba shines as Ibrahimovic makes his return|
|Hodgson accuses Niasse of diving to win Everton penalty|
|Roma 2 Lazio 1: Nainggolan stunner proves decisive|
|´Why not?´ - Hazard believes Chelsea can catch City|
|Bournemouth hat-trick hero Wilson: I need to be selfish|
|Valverde admits scoreline in Leganes win was ´excessive´|
|Pulis leaves uncertain future to West Brom board|
|Results not far away for struggling Swansea, claims Clement|
|Heynckes proud of 500 Bundesliga wins as Bayern go six points clear|
|Al-Hilal 1 Urawa Red Diamonds 1: Rafael earns valuable first-leg draw|
|Stones could be set for six-week spell on sidelines|
|Paris Saint-Germain 4 Nantes 1: Cavani double puts hosts six clear|
|Guardiola delighted to maintain rhythm after international break|
|Woeful Sunderland set new record ahead of expected Coleman appointment|
|Suarez unmoved despite ending Barca drought|
|Leganes 0 Barcelona 3: Scruffy Suarez double ends goal drought|
|Crystal Palace 2 Everton 2: Niasse equaliser boosts Unsworth´s case|
|Heynckes reaches record 500th Bundesliga win|
|Bournemouth 4 Huddersfield Town 0: Hat-trick hero Wilson stars for 10-man Cherries|
|Burnley 2 Swansea City 0: Old boy Cork stars as Dyche´s men win again|
|Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Record-breaking Salah blows Saints away|
|Leicester City 0 Manchester City 2: Jesus & De Bruyne on target as Guardiola´s title tilt continues|
|West Brom 0 Chelsea 4: Hazard leads rampant champions in piling pressure on Pulis|
|They love the club - Wenger hopeful over Ozil, Sanchez deals|
|Bayern Munich 3 Augsburg 0: Lewandowski double sends leaders six points clear|
|Wenger hails tenacious Ozil after derby delight|
|Lacazette and Sanchez are always dangerous - Ozil|
|Pochettino fumes over refereeing decisions after derby defeat|
|I´m happy at Juventus - Allegri rejects Italy speculation|
|Lamela returns from injury for Tottenham U23s|
|Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0: Ozil and Sanchez come up trumps for Wenger|
|Kimmich: Working with Guardiola was incredible|
|Bale thanks Coleman after Wales coach steps down|
|Kane & Alli fit for Spurs at Arsenal, Lacazette starts|
|Sydney leapfrog slapstick Jets at A-League summit|
|Christensen guides the way for Loftus-Cheek & Abraham at Chelsea|
|Mertens: Sarri´s tactics give Napoli 12 men|
|Aubameyang back in Dortmund fold pre-Spurs|
|Bosz laments ´ridiculous´ goals|
|Madrid have best kids stockpiled – Simeone|
|Guardiola backs Stones to get even better|
|Ibrahimovic will start with bench role, says Mourinho|
|Injections to play a friendly – Mourinho slams England over Jones handling|
|Championship Review: Sheffield United go top|
|Schurrle: Dortmund couldn´t deal with Stuttgart counter-attacks|