Champions League: Kiev test for out of form Man City

While Manchester City travels to Kiev, Ukraine for the first leg of their round of 16 match, Altletico de Madrid will face PSV in Netherlands.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini talks to his players during training session ahead of Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev.   -  REUTERS

In an exciting UEFA Champions League contest on Tuesday, Manchester City will travels to Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev. The Manuel Pellegrini-coached Premier League side is out-of-form following three straight defeats, the latest coming in the 5-1 thrashing at Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday.

While the defeats haven't been good for the morale of the team, the Chilean manager will take comfort in the fact that his team is almost back to being full strength.

Central defender Eliaquim Mangala could patner captain Vincent Kompany at the back, as City makes a push to go past the Round of 16, something it hasn't been able to do in the past three seasons.

Pellegrini's men should be quiet confident going into the match though, after having topped the Champions League group which had last year's runner-up Juventus, Spanish club Sevilla and Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach in it.

"All the players from the start, they are just thinking in this season — that we have important challenges from now until the end of the year, and the best way is to be focused in every game," said Pellegrini, in a press conference.

The manager has received criticism for his team selection at Stamford Bridge, which featured six teenagers and five players making their full debut, but he has no regrets in the FA Cup failure.

"Unfortunately for us, we have to make a difficult decision against Chelsea, but it was the only clear decision we had to make in this moment. If we had a completely fit squad, then a lot more experienced players could have played that game, but that was not the case.

Dynamo Kiev is on a nine-game unbeaten run in UEFA competition, stretching back to February 2014. The team also has a history of beating city 2-0 in March 2011 and Kiev's coach Sergei Rebrov hopes his team can pounce on any weaknesses in the Manchester City side when they meet at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex on Wednesday.

The former Tottenham and West Ham striker said: "Manchester City have scored the (equal) most goals in the Premier League, so I am sure they say they are not misfiring.

"It is important to realise the potential of Manchester City in attack, and with (Vincent) Kompany's return, power is restored in the defence.

"And when we talk about Manchester City, or any other team in the Champions League, these results in these competitions do not matter. It is the Champions League - it is a different tournament. But opponents have weaknesses. We have paid attention to them and and I hope we will take advantage of them."

Kiev has not played a competitive match since December due to Ukraine's winter break, but Rebrov is confident his players are in good shape. The only doubt for Dynamo is key forward Andriy Yarmolenko, who, the manager said, will not be risked if not 100 per cent fit.

The game will take place at an open stadium after Kiev successfully appealed against the severity of a two-match closure order. Kiev had to play its last group game against Maccabi Tel Aviv behind closed doors for offences including the racist behaviour of fans.

Simeone's men travel to PSV

In the other match of the day, Diegoe Simeone's Atletico Madrid will travels to Netherlands to face dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.

 

PSV will be without suspended captain and top-scorer Luuk de Jong for the home leg of its last-16 Champions match after the ex-Newcastle loanee picked up his third yellow card in the 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow, that took the Dutch league leaders into the knockout stage for the first time since 2007.

However, key midfielder Andres Guardado is set to return for PSV.

Atletico will have midfielder Augusto Fernandez back after a knee injury. The Spaniards have not won in four knockout games against Dutch opposition in the Champions League.

Diego Simeone's side has also struggled for goals this season, with their total of 35 the lowest in the top seven of La Liga, and the Argentine coach will be hoping his French forward Antoine Griezman prodecues some magic in the night. He is Atletico's top scorer with 19 goals and his team-mater Koke is backing the France international to end a quiet spell of just one goal in his last seven appearances.

Koke said: "We have to be more aggressive in attack and when we achieve that we'll attain our objective.

"Griezmann is a truly great player and his goals will come. They will come when you least expect them," said the midfielder.

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