Football: Manchester City aim for long-awaited Champions League quarter-final berth

Dynamo Kiev's Andriy Yarmolenko has scored in all three of their matches this month and will seek to continue his form against Manchester City.
Dynamo Kiev's Andriy Yarmolenko has scored in all three of their matches this month and will seek to continue his form against Manchester City. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • With all their vast wealth and boundless ambition, Manchester City are in the perfect position to at last start punching their weight in Europe this week by reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.

Holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg of their last-16 tie against Dynamo Kiev, they should make the long-awaited breakthrough into the last eight comfortably enough at home today.

The only problem is that City have been maddeningly inconsistent for much of the season.

So, the Etihad Stadium faithful, who have had to watch them bow out to Barcelona at this stage in the last two seasons, will take nothing for granted, especially after seeing their Premier League title hopes fade so tamely at the weekend following a 0-0 draw at Norwich City.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini was left playing up the importance of this crucial week for City.

"The only way forward is to think of the Champions League game on Tuesday," he said. "The first-leg lead was an important result but we face a big team in Dynamo."

The Ukrainian club's record in European competition on English soil reads - played 13, drawn two, lost 11.

Manager Sergei Rebrov now has the job to make his players believe.

"City are one of the best teams in the world and we saw their huge potential (in the first leg), especially in terms of an attack that is very hard to stop," he said.

"We are going to analyse our mistakes and prepare better."

Kiev will need a major contribution from their main striker Andriy Yarmolenko, who has hit decent form with goals in all three of their matches this month.

Still, it appears a long shot that the Ukrainian champions can make the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, goals have been coming from different areas of the pitch for Atletico Madrid, who have scored nine goals in their last three games, and they will aim to take that form into the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with PSV Eindhoven today.

PSV played for more than 20 minutes with 10 men in the first leg but held on for a goal-less draw.

"We're scoring from different parts of the pitch, which shows we are creating more chances," said Atletico manager Diego Simeone.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS


MAN CITY V DYNAMO KIEV

Singtel TV Ch112, tomorrow, 3.40am


ATLETICO MADRID V PSV

Singtel TV Ch111 & StarHub Ch202, tomorrow, 3.40am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2016, with the headline 'City aim for long-awaited berth in quarter-finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe