Manchester City qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in their history on Tuesday, but their supporters won't have felt much like celebrating at the final whistle. Manuel Pellegrini's outfit turned in a rather disappointing display in a goalless draw at home to the comparative minnows Dynamo Kiev, and progressed only by virtue of their 3-1 first leg victory.
The first half was comprised of astonishingly little, with the only real noteworthy events being the injuries sustained by both of City's starting centre-backs, Vincent Kompany and Nicolás Otamendi. By the half-hour mark, they'd been replaced by Eliaquim Mangala and Martín Demichelis, respectively, and City's back line looked even shakier than it did at the start of the match.
Otherwise, almost nothing happened. Both teams traded spells in possession but failed to do anything with them. As the half wore on, Dynamo appeared to be taking a few more positional risks when attacking; however, City couldn't make the most of the added space on the counter attack, and they'd failed to register a single shot on target by the time the halftime whistle sounded.
Unfortunately the second half didn't bring any great transformation in proceedings, and not until just past the hour was there anything to pique the interest. The fairly anonymous Jesús Navas did his best to change that just past the hour, though a low drive from the right side of the penalty area came back off the base of the post, and the game stayed goalless.
Not until the final 20 minutes of the game was there a single shot on target, and rather fittingly, it was as underwhelming as the match itself. Teed up on the edge of the area, Yaya Touré's rather meek effort skidded straight into the arms of the grateful Dynamo keeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy, with the City sighs growing ever louder. It was a game that won't live at all long in the memory, but hey, they're in the hat.
Manchester City: Joe Hart; Gaël Clichy, Nicolás Otamendi (Martín Demichelis 24'), Vincent Kompany (Eliaquim Mangala 7'), Pablo Zabaleta; Fernandinho, Fernando; David Silva (Raheem Sterling 79'), Yaya Touré, Jesús Navas; Sergio Agüero.
Dynamo Kiev: Oleksandr Shovkovskiy; Vitorino Antunes, Aleksandar Dragović, Yevhen Khacheridi, Domagoj Vida; Oleh Gusev (Olexandr Yakovenko 62'), Vitaliy Buyalskiy, Miguel Veloso, Denys Garmash (Serhiy Sydorchuk 64'), Andriy Yarmolenko; Łukasz Teodorczyk (Derlís González 46').
1. City could have a very real defensive crisis on their hands
Manchester City's defence isn't exactly watertight at the best of times, though injuries to their two starters only leaves it looking all the shakier. Given that they're only a couple of points clear of West Ham United in the final Champions League spot, and only a further two clear of cross-town rivals Manchester United, they'll be desperately hoping that the injuries to Kompany and Otamendi don't prove too serious.
2. Dynamo Kiev should've set up like this in the first leg
Dynamo took the bizarre decision to start the reverse fixture in all-out attack mode, and only after they'd conceded the opening goal did coach Serhiy Rebrov realise his error and throw defensive midfielder Miguel Veloso into the mix. The Portuguese international started this game and not surprisingly, Dynamo looked all the stronger both with and without the ball. Had they been a little more conservative in the first leg, they could have perhaps given City a better run for their money.
3. City aren't going to scare anyone
On paper, this is still quite a talented City team. Agüero would walk into any side in the world with the exception of Barcelona; David Silva remains an outstanding, if inconsistent, creative force; and Yaya Touré can still make the difference if he's in the mood. But for whatever reason, this City team have lost their spark. Their play is laboured and they don't dominate games in the manner that their squad suggests they should. They're not going to scare any of the big boys in the draw for the next round.