Kiev, Feb 25 (IANS) Manchester City took a huge step toward their first-ever appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals with an impressive 3-1 victory over Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their knockout-stage tie.
At least for the moment, Manuel Pellegrini’s charges appear to have emerged from a slump that saw them eliminated from the FA Cup and slip to fourth place in the Premier League, reports Efe.
Pellegrini, who is to be replaced at the end of the season by Pep Guardiola, is determined to take City to the quarter-finals of Europe’s top club competition, as he did previously with both Villarreal and Malaga.
Dynamo’s top striker, Andriy Yarmolenko, came close to giving the hosts a lead in the early going, forcing a major stop from City goalkeeper Joe Hart here on Wednesday.
The Kiev surge was short-lived, however, and poor defending allowed Sergio “Kun” Agüero to make it 1-0 for the visitors in the 14th minute off David Silva’s corner kick.
Agüero could have doubled the lead, but his shot grazed the post and went wide.
The Argentine also fed Yaya Toure the ball in scoring position, but 41-year-old keeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy, who was in the net for Dynamo in a 1999 Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich, kept the deficit to 1-0.
The veteran stopper had no chance on City’s second goal.
Agüero, his back to the goal, received the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box and deftly back-heeled it to Raheem Sterling, whose perfect cross was hammered home by David Silva in the 40th minute.
Dynamo looked stronger in the second half and Yarmolenko’s near miss was followed in the 58th minute by a goal from Vitaliy Buyalsky, whose long shot deflected off City defender Nicolas Otamendi into the net.
It took a great save from Hart to stop Buyalsky from getting the equalizer in the 79th minute, while Toure missed a chance to pad City’s lead two minutes later.
The Ivorian redeemed himself with a brilliant strike in the 89th minute to make it 3-1, giving City a solid advantage going into the March 15 second leg in Manchester.