A full-strength Manchester City took command of their Champions League last-16 tie against Dynamo Kiev with an impressive first-leg win in Ukraine.
City dominated the first half and Sergio Aguero slotted in an opener before a slick move let David Silva side-foot in a second.
Vitaliy Buyalsky pulled one back with a deflected shot before he had another effort superbly saved by Joe Hart.
Yaya Toure curled in a superb shot late on to restore City’s two-goal lead.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini fielded a weakened side in the FA Cup defeat by Chelsea on Sunday.
But the City boss made 10 changes as he restored his side’s stars to the starting line-up on Wednesday and they put the club within reach of the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.
City went into the game with just one win in the four matches since it was announced Pep Guardiola would be replacing Pellegrini in the summer.
Pellegrini’s selection in the FA Cup also put his side under increased pressure as he clearly prioritised the club’s Champions League campaign.
However, he was rewarded with a first-half display which saw his side constantly winning the ball high up the pitch and overwhelming their hosts.
Aguero put the visitors ahead and sent two further efforts wide. He also had another shot parried away by 41-year-old keeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy.
City had to withstand some pressure as the home side regrouped and improved after the break and, despite conceding a goal, Toure’s finish put them in control.
“The performance was good, with a lot of high pressing, 3-1 is a good result and we are happy with it,” said City captain Vincent Kompany.
“We are going into the second leg with a fairly good chance to go through, which has not been the case before. We looked like a team that was hungry for success.”
The Silva & Kompany effect
Pellegrini usually plays Silva on the right wing but moved the Spanish playmaker in a central role behind striker Aguero for this game, and the move paid off handsomely.
Fernandinho was played on the right wing, with Toure dropping back to form a two-man midfield with Fernando to allow Silva to showcase the threat he poses.
Silva’s movement and passing proved a constant menace in the first half, while centre-back Kompany had to come to the fore after the break.
Kompany, who was playing only his second game since returning from seven weeks out with a calf injury, gave his side a more assured look at the back when they had to deal with a more threatening home side in the second half.
Kiev off the pace
Dynamo Kiev had not played a competitive game since a Champions League group-stage win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on 9 December because of Ukrainian football’s winter break – and it showed.
They lacked rhythm and looked off the pace as they struggled to deal with the intensity of City’s pressing game in the first half as their star player Andriy Yarmolenko struggled to make an impact.
Yarmolenko, who had been a doubt with a knee injury, became more of a threat for a brief spell as the home side pulled one back but they could not maintain their pressure.
Dynamo did nearly equalise but Hart brilliantly kept out Buyalsky’s effort and the save proved crucial as City went on to restore their two-goal advantage
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini speaking to BT Sport: “I’m very happy because it is a very good result.
“It is not finished but playing away and having a two-goal lead is very good. The team played well and had lots of chances. Maybe when it was 2-1 we had moments of doubt, but then we got the third goal.
“Is the tie settled? No, it is important in football to never think it is finished. But to have that third goal gives us more confidence for the second leg.”
Dynamo Kiev boss Sergei Rebrov speaking to BT Sport: “The winter break didn’t affect us, the fact is we played one of the best teams in Europe. The players were a little nervous, it was their first time in the last 16 and they felt that. When Man City scored we lost confidence.
“When we scored I hoped we could get back into it. We had chances but couldn’t score.”
BBC Sport football expert Mark Lawrenson: “Man City were very, very good – there was a little spell at the start of the second half when Kiev came at them, but in the end City might feel they could probably have won by another goal or so.
“City won this game comfortably. Yes, Kiev had 11 weeks off but that was not City’s problem.”