Manchester City were made to work for their 1-0 victory against a spirited Feyernoord side on Tuesday night, with a late Raheem Sterling goal enough to confirm top spot in Group F with a game to spare in the Champions League.
The first fifteen minutes passed at the Etihad Stadium without much in the way of incident as Feyernoord looked more organised than the previous encounter between the two in the opening game of Group F.
Manchester City looked to attack with their usual vigour, although the Dutch side offered a realistic threat on the counter with the pace of their front three in particular.
City's first real shot in anger was a tame Sergio Aguero effort straight at Brad Jones, who caught at the second attempt - one of a number of initial shaky moments for the Australian goalkeeper.
Ederson, who had very little to do throughout the game, almost gifted the visitors the lead after a sloppy touch by the Brazilian, although he did redeem himself with a last-ditch tackle to take the ball off the toes of Jean-Paul Boetius to avoid any embarrassment.
With half an hour gone, City began to go through the gears with Kevin De Bruyne seeing more of the ball. His cross found Aguero but couldn't direct his near post header on target.
Feyernoord soon gave Ederson another scare however, as the impressive Sam Larsson fired wide to show that Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side were capable of causing their hosts problems.
Chances for Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva came and went for City without causing Jones too many problems as half-time was soon called at the Etihad, with Pep Guardiola hoping for a much improved performance in the second 45 minutes.
With the words of Guardiola ringing in their ears, City started the second half with much more pace and purpose, searching for the opening goal of the game.
De Bruyne sliced an effort wide and Aguero fired over from distance, but City now looked to have an urgency in their play that their first half performance lacked in parts.
Feyernoord, however, continued to frustrate the Premier League side as the game entered a lull in intensity once more.
De Bruyne was then replaced by Gabriel Jesus, in an ominous message that Guardiola was desperate to win the game to seal top spot in Group F.
Yaya Toure saw a free-kick curl just wide of Jones' post as the game ticked into the final 20 minutes, before Ederson had to be alert to tip Steven Berghuis's near post effort over the bar, with the Dutch side sensing they could take something from the game.
Aguero then had the game's best chance up to this point, but could only fire wide following Bernardo Silva's dinked through ball with only the goalkeeper to beat.
CITY SUB | It's @philfoden time! Another game, another piece of history as Foden becomes City's youngest ever Champions League debutant - and the 35th youngest in the history of the competition. He replaces @yayatoure.— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 21, 2017
🔵 0-0 🔴 #cityvfey pic.twitter.com/jJFwdif2P7
City fans did have something to cheer as a 17-year-old Ben Foden made his debut for the club with the stage almost written for him to make his mark.
With the game ticking into the final few minutes, City finally found the breakthrough after Ilkay Gundogan played through Sterling, who dinked the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to give the Etihad crowd the goal they had been craving and cement City's status as Group F winners.
And with that came the final whistle to bring an end to one of Guardiola's more forgettable games in charge of City, with a late Sterling goal giving City a 1-0 victory, meaning they will enter the knockout phase of the Champions League as group winners.