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.