The Blues are through, but in general the media are not impressed
City are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time, and while the goalless draw with Dynamo Kyiv won’t linger in the memory for too long the world’s media had plenty to sink their teeth in to.
City’s own David Clayton pretty much nailed it in the match report elsewhere on this site by saying “It wasn’t a thriller, but job done”. Many writers expand on Dave’s theme, and the context of the injuries to Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi loom large as well.
Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail is a typical example, and he wasn’t impressed by what he saw.
“Kiev, if you pardon the pun, were chicken. And City were far too comfortable. The best that could be said of them is that they were excused games on medical grounds. Losing Kompany after five minutes, and his partner Otamendi after 20, would sink the spirits of any team.
“Kompany is a talisman for City, and they are much reduced without him. If his calf injury stretches towards May, his loss could be fatal to the club’s ambitions in the remainder of the season.
“Fortunately, Kiev seemed largely happy to sign up for a non-aggression pact and City were rarely tested. They will proudly take their place in Friday’s draw but this was hardly an occasion befitting the honour of Breakthrough Night. Sleep-through night, maybe.”
Ouch. The Mirror’s Dave Kidd also goes in strong in his piece on last night, highlighting how important the skipper appears to all in and outside of the club.
“An injury to City’s Belgian skipper always creates a sense of dread around the Etihad. They are not the same team without him, no matter how much they have shelled out on alternative central defensive options.
“Pellegrini fears he will be out for around six weeks – and it is a bitter blow for the Belgian, City’s best defender by a mile and a true club captain in every sense.”
The ripple effect of Tuesday night’s injuries has reached NBC Sports as well, who widen their scope to the derby next Sunday, Premier League matters in general and European matters next season.
“Manuel Pellegrini has been open about his goals of reaching new heights in the UCL this season, and now he has done so. However, Pellegrini won’t be in Manchester next year, and City may not be in the Champions League either.
“Into the last eight, no one really expects City to win the whole thing. That means they must finish in the top-four of the Premier League to qualify for the Champions League next season.
“After losing starting centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi to injury against Kiev, City will likely be forced to field a second-tier defence in the derby. If they were to lose and other results around the league go against them, City could finish the weekend fifth on the table and just a point above sixth.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom, folks! City could be England’s only representatives in the last eight – Arsenal must overcome a 0-2 deficit against Barcelona tonight to join us – and the Manchester Evening News’ James Robson sees glimmers of hope for the Blues’ Euro prospects.
James writes that “…the expectancy is that Manchester City will be English football’s last hope of triumphing in the Champions League this season. That in itself is a commendable feat and with Wolfsburg and Benfica still in the competition, they have every right to believe the semi-finals are a very distinct possibility.
“Even if the goalless draw with Dynamo Kiev lacked any real spark - the professional job done by City in difficult circumstances will have pleased Manuel Pellegrini most.”