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Battered Man City into Champions League quarters


Manchester City have reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time after a 0-0 draw with Dynamo Kiev at Etihad Stadium this morning, Australian time.

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But it was a bittersweet evening for the English team because of injuries to starting centre backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi.

City won 3-1 on aggregate in the last 16, with the damage done in the first leg in Kiev three weeks ago.

The injuries to Kompany and Otamendi – both sustained inside the first 23 minutes – were the major incidents in a soporific match as City advanced with the minimum of concern but without impressing, either.

Kompany is expected to be sidelined for at least a month, according to City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Kiev, seeking a first Champions League quarter-final berth since 1999, barely threatened, while Jesus Navas struck the post with City’s best chance.

City’s Abu Dhabi owners have had tangible reward for their influx of cash since 2008 in the shape of five domestic trophies, including two Premier League titles. Yet progress beyond the last 16 in five seasons in the Champions League has eluded them – until now.

City will be hoping to avoid the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona – should the Spanish champions advance, as expected, on Wednesday – as the only likely English club in Friday’s draw for the quarter-finals.

“It is a very important achievement for the club,” Pellegrini told BT Sport. “This is a club that is growing and will continue to develop.”

Aside from possibly Sergio Aguero, Kompany was the last person Pellegrini would have wanted to see come off injured given his importance to the team and the assuredness he brings to the defence.

The Belgium international appeared to get hurt over-reaching as he turned to retrieve the ball under pressure in the fifth minute. He immediately kicked the ball out before signalling to the bench and slumping to the ground.

As he stared glumly in anticipation of a third injury layoff this season, the Etihad fell silent and groans were heard.

“I think he [Kompany] must be very strong mentally,” Pellegrini said. “It’s very difficult to accept but he has nothing else to do.

“You always take a risk. But working during the week is a risk. He recovered without any problem. It was the sixth game [in a short period] but he didn’t feel any problem before the game, so I didn’t think it was a risk. Just bad luck.”

City’s problems exacerbated when Otamendi indicated to come off in the 23rd as he thumped a clearance downfield.

Meanwhile Atletico Madrid beat PSV Eindhoven 8-7 in a tense penalty shoot-out to join City in the quarter-finals.

Juanfran scored the winning penalty in sudden death for Atletico after Luciano Narsingh struck the bar with his kick, the only miss from 16 attempts from both teams.

In a repeat of the first match in Eindhoven, the second-leg of the last 16 clash in Madrid also ended goalless.

Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann was denied by `keeper Jeroen Zoet from point-blank range on two occasions but Jurgen Locadia hit the post for the Dutch.


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