It was a case of job done for City as they cruised into the last 8 with a relatively easy run out against Dynamo Kyiv. City already had a 3-1 advantage from the first leg, and in a match which offered nothing real in the way of excitement, they had little to test them in this encounter. In a first half of relatively little action, the biggest incident of note involved an injury, City dealt a blow after just 6 minutes, when skipper Vincent Kompany pulled up with his troublesome calf. The former Premier League champions have struggled at the back in the absence of their captain, and when he pulled up after an innocuous clearance there was an audible groan around the stadium, with the all-important Manchester derby on the horizon on Sunday. He was replaced by Mangala, making his first appearance since January. There was more worry for Pellegrini not long after when the other first choice centre half, Nicolás Otamendi, stayed down after an unfortunate clash with Buyalskiy. Both players needed treatment from the physio, requiring them to leave the pitch, before returning. Otamendi also received a yellow card for his troubles, returning to the field of play too early in the eyes of the referee, much to the annoyance of the home fans.
The first 20 minutes failed to produce any real chance of note, the closest a keeper came to being tested when Joe Hart was forced to stick out a hand to push away a dangerous cross, only for the linesman to flag for offside. The referee was forced to reach for his card again after a crude challenge from Antunes on Navas, which fortunately the Spaniard rode well. Shortly after, Otamendi went to ground for the second time, clearly unable to play any further part, and City were forced into their 2nd centre back change of the night, veteran Martin Demichelis replacing his Argentine team-mate. Close to the half hour mark and it was the home keeper Hart called into action again, reacting to punch clear a speculative set piece after Demichelis gave away the foul.
City then created their first chance of note, when a powerful run from Yaya Touré, arguably City’s most offensive player in the first 45, created space for Navas on the right. The Spanish winger fired in a cross, but Agüero was unable to make any real connection on the ball to test the keeper. Navas then had a great chance to do more when he broke free in a City counter attack, but he massively over weighted his pass to the overlapping Agüero, and the ball harmlessly rolled out, in a move that pretty much summed up the first half in general, City lacking quality in the final third, and visitors Kyiv just lacking any quality or desire at all.
The second half began in much the same vein, the only real attacking threat of note again coming from Touré. A neat move down the right saw Yaya’s cross fired towards his own net by a Kyiv defender, and the keeper fearing a back pass was forced to hit the ball clear. The clearance led to a City free kick in a dangerous position, but the chance was wasted. City then had another great chance to threaten from a set piece, this time after Garmash was booked for tripping Agüero in a similar position. Yaya Touré tried his luck from a similar range to Payet’s stunner in the cup at the weekend, but his effort was just wide of the keeper’s right hand post. Touré and Agüero then linked up with a smart move down the right, but Agüero dragged his shot wide as City began to turn the screw. On the hour mark, City were then unlucky not to take the lead, Touré again the architect and Navas seeing his effort fire back off the inside of the post before being put out for a corner, which came to nothing.
At the other end, Yarmolenko then had a great chance to steal a lead for the visitors. Clichy lost the ball, and Yarmolenko was able to turn Mangala inside out, but his final shot was straight down the throat of Joe Hart, who gathered with ease. Into the last 20 minutes Touré again had a chance to break the deadlock, Navas cutting back to pick him out on the edge of the area, but his whipped side foot effort was too close to Shovkovsky, who got down to save.
A quick counter from City involving a fantastic long range pass from Navas, and sublime piece of skill from Agüero, deserved more, but his delicate through ball had just too much on it for the onrushing David Silva, Shovkovsky able to come out and claim. City then made their final change of the evening, Silva being replaced by Raheem Sterling with 12 minutes to go. Yarmolenko had another great chance to break the deadlock for Kyiv, but he was flagged offside when he found himself free in the middle. He then went down in the box looking for a penalty, but Hart stayed alert to deny a follow-up shot, with the referee waving away he protests. Another smart double save from the City stopper at the end gave him the clean sheet he craved, and also ensured City have now kept 3 clean sheets on the bounce, although failure to score in the last 2 will also be a worry.
In summary. City will be pleased to have claimed another clean sheet, as well as doing a professional job in securing qualification, although there will also be some frustration that they lost their captain in a game Kyiv approached at times with little more vigour than a training match. All eyes will now be on the draw for the quarter finals on Friday, with Pellegrini also having some concern regarding preparation for the Manchester derby on Sunday. Early speculation would suggest Kompany will be absent but Otamendi may be back for that one, as his injured appeared to be more of an impact nature. With Chelsea already out, and Arsenal facing an uphill battle as they take a 2-0 deficit to the Camp Nou tomorrow evening, the Manchester club have at least ensured England some representation in the latter stages.
MOTM: Yaya Touré – the City man took control of midfield almost single-handed at times, and after taking over the captain’s arm-band from Kompany, was involved in pretty much everything of note the home side created as he brushed aside fellow professional footballers with ease.Share this: