Manchester City came really close to making their first ever appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 triumph in Ukraine, but they need to finish the job at their Etihad Stadium. Dynamo Kiev appear to have missed their opportunity to grab the tie by the scruff of neck, meaning they face mountain to climb in the return leg.
Even if Manchester City have lifted the Capital One Cup trophy, this is unlikely to go down as a successful season for the club, that is unless the Citizens can win the Champions League title. Departing manager Manuel Pellegrini has prioritized the competition over the others this term and while such a decision has been detrimental to team’s hopes of lifting the Premier League and FA Cup trophies, at least the Citizens are set to reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in history. Manchester City did well to recover from three successive defeats and record a 3-1 victory over Dynamo in the first leg, but they have since again experienced problems. The 3-0 loss to Liverpool and goalless draw against out-of-sorts Norwich have seriously damaged team’s top 4 hopes, wit West Ham and Manchester United now breathing down their necks. Even so, Manuel Pellegrini is widely expected to field his strongest side in the return match against Dynamo, and there are no doubts Man City could really use another morale-boosting triumph.
Yaya Toure may not be risked as he battles a heel injury, whereas Kevin De Bruyne, Fabian Delph and Samir Nasri miss out as well.
This means that manager Manuel Pellegrini could field the same side that played out a goalless draw with Norwich at the weekend.
Dynamo Kiev did well to progress from the Champions League group stages, pipping FC Porto to the place in the knockout phase, but too much respect shown towards Manchester City ended up costing them a chance to play in the quarter-finals. With the Citizens heading into the first leg on the back of three straight defeats, the Ukrainians had a perfect opportunity to attack the opposition from the off and take advantage of their lack of confidence, but they instead opted for a cautious approach that allowed Man City to play without any pressure and ultimately record a 3-1 triumph. The late goal scored by Yaya Toure basically killed off the tie as we cannot really expect Dynamo to score three goals or more at Etihad. The likes of Andriy Yarmolenko and Derlis Gonzalez will again be difficult to contain, but don’t expect the visitors to cause Man City too many problems. Dynamo Kiev have lost 11 of 13 away matches against English sides, suffering a 2-1 group defeat to Chelsea back in November, and the trend looks set to continue in Manchester.
Andriy Yarmolenko has fully recovered from an ankle problem, but Mykola Morozyuk is out injured and Olexandr Rybka is unlikely to feature either.
Key Factors to Consider
- Dynamo Kiev have never won in England (D2 L11)
- The Ukrainians suffered a 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge in November
- Dynamo, however, won the other two away games in group stage
- Man City won 13 of last 17 home games on all fronts
- The Citizens have kept two clean sheets in a row
Manchester City completely outclassed the opposition in the first leg and they look a good bet to record another comfortable triumph. Dynamo Kiev have struggled for form after the winter break and they don’t seem capable of producing a surprise at Etihad Stadium.
Verdict: Man City/Man City
Best Odds: 11/8
Bookmaker: William Hill