Manchester City have one foot into their first-ever UEFA Champions League quarter-final after a 3-1 win at Dynamo Kiev.
The Citizens have fallen at this stage of the competition for each of the last two years, but take an advantage into the second-leg at the Etihad Stadium.
Their Ukrainian hosts haven’t played a competitive fixture since match day six of the group stages, but their rustiness wasn’t evident from the off, as Dynamo dominated the early proceedings.
However; they lacked a cutting edge, and City took the lead after just 15 minutes. Dynamo struggled to clear a corner, allowing Yaya Toure to find Sergio Aguero, who neatly fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini made 10 changes to the youthful side that started in their weekend FA Cup loss to Chelsea, and they began to torment Dynamo once they had pegged themselves in front.
Opposing boss Sergei Rebrov made a first-half tactical switch, bringing on Miguel Veloso for Denys Garmash. Unfortunately for Dynamo, City grabbed a second just before the break. Raheem Sterling did well to pick out Aguero, whose cross to the back post was buried by David Silva.
With just under an hour played, Dynamo pulled one back through Vitaliy Buyalsky. The Ukrainian’s half-volley deceived Joe Hart in the Man City goal after being unsighted by defender Nicolas Otamendi.
Dynamo continued to push forward, but were undone by a swift City move. Toure played a one-two with Fernandinho, and the Ivorian sealed victory with a beautiful left foot strike.
Meanwhile in Wednesday night’s other last-16 clash, 2014 finalists Atletico Madrid couldn’t make their one-man advantage count as they were held to a 0-0 draw at PSV Eindhoven.
The Dutch champions played an already one-sided game a man down for 25 minutes, but clung on to leave it all to play for at the Vicente Calderon.
Diego Simeone’s side thought they had taken the lead just four minutes in, when Luciano Vietto managed to dink goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet. However, the Argentine’s effort was hacked away in the knick of time by former Chelsea defender Jeffrey Bruma.
Zoet fell awkwardly during the collision with Vietto, but after receiving medical attention, soldiered on for the Rood-Witten.
Atletico found it increasingly difficult to break down PSV, but Zoet was forced into action with half an hour played, smothering Frenchman Antoine Griezmann after he was put through on goal.
Just after the hour mark, Atletico had the ball in the net, only for it to be ruled out. Los Colchoneros’ centre-back Diego Godin rose highest from a corner and headed home, but he was adjudged to have shoved Hector Moreno.
Shortly after, PSV were reduced to ten men. Forward Gaston Pereiro flew into a challenge with Godin and caught his Uruguayan compatriot with his elbow, warranting a second yellow card.
Fortunately, it didn’t cost his side, as they managed to see out a goalless draw. The two reconvene in the Spanish capital on March 15.