City got off a to a perfect start with Sergio Aguero's penalty after four minutes, Guardiola's side dominated the majority of the possession, but only had half-chances from Nolito and Jermain Defoe to show for the rest of the 45 minutes.
For all their possession, City failed to add spark to the fire in the opening proceedings of the second half. Half-chance's from Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne looked to be the only chances of recognition, before Defoe equalised on 70 minutes. It looked to be heading for a draw, but the unfortunate effort from the former Manchester United man secured a winning start to the Guardiola revolution.
Starting off on the wrong foot
The Etihad Stadium played host to two new coaches in David Moyes and Guardiola, and it was the Scot's side that started the brightest. Defoe was brought down by Fernandinho, with Patrick van Aanholt stepping up to take the free-kick. William Caballero was brought in by Guardiola, in place of Joe Hart, and got off to a good start by palming the low effort away from goal.
Van Aanholt turned from a hero to a villain, in the blink of an eye as he handed City a penalty. It was good play from City, with the ball coming to Raheem Sterling. The winger looked to get away with the cutback, but the full-back made the poor decision to slide in on the winger, and gave Bobby Madley no option.
Many would have expected Aguero to be the one to start the goal tally of the Guardiola era, and the Argentine made no mistake as he fired past Vito Mannone.
All about the possession
Despite going behind early on, Sunderland remained positive, especially youngster Lynden Gooch. The American was looking dangerous on senior debut, as he got to the by-line before producing a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but nobody was there on the end of it.
Guardiola is world-renowned for his possession-based with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and it was proving no different with City. One of his signings in Nolito, was proving dangerous as he got beyond Donald Love, but his effort from a tight angle was just wide of the mark.
Sunderland had their best opportunity five minutes from the break, as a corner caused panic in the City area. Lamine Kone rose highest to head in towards Defoe but his volley was straight into the chest of Caballero.
City's domination of the ball continued into the second period, but failed to convert that into clear-cut chances. Aguero came close just before the hour mark, after Sterling burst past Love to get a ball in from the by-line. Van Aanholt failed to clear his lines which allowed Aguero to try the volley from eight yards, but it flashed past Mannone's post.
De Bruyne followed that up with his own effort soon after, the Belgian stood over the free-kick on the edge of the box, but Mannone did well to get across to palm away the low effort.
Against the odds
Despite dominating in both possession and chances throughout the majority of the second period, Sunderland managed to snatch an equaliser. It was a well-worked effort from the Black Cats, with substitute Adnan Januzaj playing a great through ball to Defoe, and he made no mistake as he coolly slotted past Caballero.
Snatched away at the end
Moyes' looked to be shutting up shop as the Black Cats looked for the draw, but it was snatched away with four minutes to play. Jesus Navas proved dangerous wing, as he managed to get down the by-line, however the Spaniard's desperate punt into the area seemed to miss everyone, apart from the unfortunate McNair who headed past Mannone.
Late substitute Kelechi Iheanacho looked to seal the win right at the death, City broke quickly upfield through Aguero who unselfishly laid it off to the young striker. Iheanacho did well to turn and get his shot away, despite defensive pressure, but Mannone did well to deflect it over the crossbar.