Manchester City are well on their way to the Champions League quarterfinals, with Manuel Pellegrini's side having recorded a 3-1 win away at Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their round of 16 encounter in Ukraine. Goals from Sergio Agüero, David Silva and Yaya Touré ensured Vitaliy Buyalskiy's second-half strike is unlikely to be anything more than a consolation goal.
The game got off to a surprisingly open start, but that only played into the hands of the superior City. It took them a little over a quarter of an hour to break the deadlock, with Agüero taking full advantage of a knockdown by Touré to stab a Silva corner into the back of the net.
A succession of good City chances followed their opening goal, with Agüero lashing a low shot wide from the edge of the area before a Touré drive was turned around the post by Dynamo keeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy.
It took until 10 minutes of the half left, but eventually City did have a second. A well-worked goal culminated in the excellent Raheem Sterling rolling the ball across the face of goal for Silva to tap home, with Dynamo looking at risk of a mauling. It could've been three within a couple of minutes, but Agüero scuffed his shot wide of the far post when one-on-one with Shovkovskiy.
Dynamo managed to regroup over the halftime break, and came back after the restart looking much more dangerous. They were rewarded just short of the hour, when a loose ball broke to Buyalskiy on the edge of the area. His low volley took a nick off Nicolás Otamendi on its way beyond Joe Hart.
From there the game was wide open. Silva and Agüero both went close for City, before Dynamo surged forward on the counter-attack, though Buyalskiy. His shot was deflected, though this time Hart managed to correct his positioning and keep City in front.
Unfortunately for the hosts, their recovery was all in vain. Inside the final minute of the regulation 90, Touré picked the ball up on the edge of the area and curled an arcing shot beyond Shovkovskiy and inside the far post. It's a goal that all but guarantees their passage into the quarterfinals, and dumps Dynamo out in the first knockout round.
Dynamo Kiev: Olexandr Shovkovskiy; Domagoj Vida, Aleksandar Dragović, Yevhen Khacheridi, Danilo Silva (Yevhen Makarenko 66'); Vitaliy Buyalskiy, Serhiy Rybalka, Denys Garmash (Miguel Veloso 31'); Derlis González, Łukasz Teodorczyk (Júnior Moraes 46'), Andriy Yarmolenko.
Goals: Buyalskiy (59').
Manchester City: Joe Hart; Gaël Clichy, Nicolás Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Bacary Sagna; Fernandinho, Fernando; Raheem Sterling, Yaya Touré, David Silva; Sergio Agüero (Kelechi Iheanacho 90+1').
Goals: Agüero (15'), Silva (40'), Touré (90').
1. Dynamo Kiev played surprisingly open
Despite their recent form, there's no doubting this Manchester City team are a serious attacking force. They're certainly not the sort of team Dynamo should be expecting to beat by playing open and expansive football. Yet that's exactly what they tried to do -- a strategy that seemed as brave as eyebrow-raising. Coach Sergei Rebrov appeared to realize his error when he brought on defensive midfielder Miguel Veloso after just half an hour, though not even that could stop City from swiftly adding a second.
2. City lacked the intensity of their hosts ...
Pellegrini will have been pleased with his side's excellent start, though he has every right to be dissatisfied with their second half performance. Perhaps getting complacent with their two-goal buffer, they struggled to keep their less-illustrious hosts at bay in the second half. Come the final whistle, they may well have been thankful just to have won the match. Dynamo, meanwhile, will be disappointed to have thrown a couple of goals away so early; had they started the match as they started the second half, they could've caused a big upset.
3. ... but their quality shone through
When the gulf in quality between two teams is as great as it was here, the better team rarely need to be perfect to win. And so it proved Wednesday, when a final moment of individual quality from Touré dealt a knockout blow to a Dynamo side that may have still considered themselves to have an outside chance with the game still 2-1. However, it's obvious that Pellegrini's men will need to be better when they come up against stronger opposition later in the tournament.