AFTER Manchester City finally got luck on their side and avoided one of the Europe’s big sides in the Champions League last 16, Callum Matthews analyses what they can expect from Dynamo Kiev…
The Ukrainian outfit have reached the last 16 for the first time in, coincidentally, 16 years. They finished second in a competitive group, behind current Premier League champions Chelsea, pipping Portuguese giants Porto to the second qualifying spot.
They were impressive throughout the group stage and a 2-0 victory in the Estadio do Dragao against Porto was the highlight.
Serhiy Rebrov’s side are currently champions of the Ukrainian Premier League – a league they’ve never been out of – and sit joint top behind Shakhtar Donetsk on goal difference in the current campaign after 16 games.
The 88-year-old club are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions and have picked up eight wins in their last 10 games going into Monday’s lunchtime draw.
The 3500-round mile trip may have been one that City and Manuel Pellegrini were hoping to avoid, especially seeming their fans won’t be allowed to join them in the Ukrainian capital because of Kiev’s punishment after their fans were found guilty of racism during the group game against Chelsea.
TIMELINE: Dynamo Kiev’s route to the last 16
The two sides have only met twice before – in the 2010/11 Europa League. Kiev progressed 2-1 on aggregate dumping City out in the Round of 16. The Blues lost 2-0 in Kiev, before winning 1-0 in Manchester thanks to Aleksandar Kolarov’s goal in a game that was marred by Mario Balotelli’s red card.
One to watch
Andriy Yarmolenko – The 26-year-old midfielder is key to everything that Kiev do. The left-footer has already scored eight goals in all competitions this season, as well as chipping in with seven assists. He scored two vital goals in the group stages, including one in the away victory at Porto, and will be crucial if Kiev are to beat City and the progress to the Quarter-finals.
The first leg will take place at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium on Wednesday, February 24 in between a potential FA Cup Fifth Round tie (or a free weekend) and a trip to St. James Park to face Newcastle.
The return leg will take place at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, March 15 in between a trip to Norwich City and the 171st Manchester derby.
IN NUMBERS: How Dynamo Kiev fared in the group stages
Will City progress?
It’s a tie you’d expect City to negotiate fairly comfortably in truth. The long journey isn’t ideal, but with a journey to Newcastle – a side that City are unbeaten against in their last 16 Premier League meetings (W14 D2) – it shouldn’t affect the Blues too much.
Kiev are a decent side, as they showed in the group stage with decent performances against Chelsea and the win at Porto where they were brilliant. However it’s a tie you’d expect City to overcome with relevant ease because of their array of top class players.
The Blues best performances have often come when Pellegrini has been without some of his best players – against Rome last season and Sevilla this season for example – therefore it’s something the Chilean is going to have to think about ahead of the trip for the behind closed doors game.
Should City make their way through, there’s a really good chance that the Blues could make the Semi-finals after a number of the so-called ‘weaker’ teams were drawn against each other in the last 16 draw.
By: Callum Matthews