Vincent Kompany delighted as Manchester City stride towards new ground
Dynamo Kiev 1-3 Manchester City
Manchester City are closer than they have ever been to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so it would be churlish to point out that they should be even closer than that.
City's 3-1 away win at Dynamo Kiev means that it would take a catastrophe at the Etihad in two weeks' time for Manuel Pellegrini's side not to reach the last eight.
The visitors produced an almost perfect first-half in the Olympic Stadium, catching the hosts off guard with some precise incisive football
They scored twice before adding a third late on and only some careless finishing from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero meant that they did not score six - and captain Vincent Kompany admitted the outcome and performance was as good as it gets.
"It is an exceptional result away from home, we couldn't have hoped for better," he said. "The performance was good, a lot of high pressing and a lot of chances, but 3-1 is a good result, we're happy with it. We're not going to get carried away.
"It was a City performance we would like to see more often, we can take a lot of positives out of this game - it's a good start to the week."
City now turn their attentions to the Capital One Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday and Pellegrini is keen to collect some silverware.
"From tomorrow we are going to think about the Capital One Cup final because it is very important to win a trophy," he said.
"(After) the Capital One Cup final, we must return to the Premier League to fight for another 36 points, so we have lots of things still to do."
Kiev manager Sergei Rebrov, whose side last played competitively on December 9, 2015, refused to blame the defeat on the winter break in Ukraine.
Asked whether it had an impact, he said: "I don't think so, we played against one of the best teams in Europe.
"Before the game I saw the players and they were nervous, and they can feel that on the pitch."
This time last year City were 2-0 down to Barcelona after 45 minutes and already out. This felt like the complete opposite.
Pellegrini brought all of his first-team players back into the team and they looked far sharper and faster.
After 15 minutes of slow, sedate football - Joe Hart had to tip over from Andriy Yarmolenko, but that was it - City took the lead with a goal that was far too simple to score.
David Silva curled in a corner from the left, Toure nodded it down at the far post and Aguero, reacting fastest, controlled the ball and smacked it into the net.
Soon after, Fernando won a loose ball and Aguero played in Toure, who could not beat the keeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy.
Any worries about missing those chances were soon assuaged when, five minutes before the break, City added another. Aguero held the ball up on the left-hand side, waited and then found the overlapping Raheem Sterling. His cross was perfect and up popped Silva at the far post.
Every time City won the ball they threatened in behind and Aguero should have had another, two minutes later, snatching left-footed at a chance.
The second-half was never going to be as easy as the first, and Dynamo came back into the contest with some spirit. They moved the ball forward quicker to Yarmolenko, who cut in from the right and drove a shot just wide.
City dropped further back and paid the price. Nicolas Otamendi headed a cross away from goal and there was far too much space for Vitaly Buyalskiy on the edge of the box. His 20-yard shot deflected off Otamendi and beyond Hart.
Suddenly City's first half looked like profligacy and they desperately implored referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz for penalties when first Sterling and then Silva appeared to be tripped in the box, by Yevhen Khacheridi and Aleksandar Dragovic respectively.
City continued to push for the third goal. Aguero and Fernandinho could not quite get on the end of whipped crosses but Toure, after missing two easier chances, decided to end the game in the last minute. He picked the ball up, shuffled past two tackles and curled into the far corner.
DYNAMO KIEV: Shovkovskiy, Danilo Silva (Makarenko, 66 mins), Khacheridi, Dragovic, Vida, Rybalka, Yarmolenko, Garmash (Veloso, 31 mins), Buyalsky, Gonzalez, Teodorczyk (Junior Moraes, 46 mins).
Subs not used: Rudko, Petrovic, Korzun, Gusev.
Goals: Buyalsky, 59 mins
MAN CITY: Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho, Silva (Iheanacho, 90 mins) Toure, Sterling, Aguero.
Subs not used: Caballero, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Mangala, Demichelis, Manu Garcia.
Goals: Aguero 15, Silva 41, Toure 90
Man of the match: Yaya Toure (pictured)
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Valencia)