Dzeko quick out of the blocks to ensure City's safe passage

Manchester City 3 Aris Thessaloniki 0 (Manchester City win 3-0 on aggregate)

With an attacking armoury that would walk into any side in the Premier League, let alone this competition, it was a matter of time before someone was on the receiving end of a Manchester City thrashing. In a season where goals have at times been hard to come by, all of a sudden they're raining down on Eastlands.

In fact the last five home games have yielded 19 goals, suggesting the goal drought that had dominated Roberto Mancini's thoughts earlier this season had long gone.

His solution here was to find room for a plethora of strikers with Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli, David Silva and two-goal hero Edin Dzeko all featuring.

Seeing off the little-known Aris Salonika, thanks to Dzeko's early intervention and Yaya Touré late on, was never going to be the tough task. Accommodating his striking quartet was a more difficult one.

Yet this was a perhaps a glimpse of the future, even if the Manchester City manager was quick to suggest it won't be a permanent future after booking a spot against Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 of the Europa League.

"The first half we played very well with Mario, Tevez and Dzeko but we need to play more games together," said Mancini. "The problem is when we don't have the ball and if we don't have the ball and don't work and cover every situation it could be difficult.

"But in the first half they played well, they worked back. After 2-0 they worked so-so. Maybe sometimes we can play [all four of them] but not often. This is only the second game Mario has played after his injury. Maybe he is not 100 per cent. I think he can play better.

"I do think we are one of the best teams in the Premier League, we play football. Sometimes maybe, it's possible we don't play well but this is the same for all the teams."

It was as comfortable an evening as Manchester City could have asked for, and at no point did it require them to get out of second gear. Two early goals was enough: at times the Manchester City team could have lit a cigar given the ease of this win.

Tougher tests lie ahead in this competition, but by then you will surely see a fitter, stronger Dzeko in what is an ominous prospect for the rest. This time last week the Bosnian looked a forlorn figure, trudging off the pitch in this corresponding leg before incurring the wrath of his manager for his sub-standard performance.



Last night it took him just 12 minutes to respond to those remarks in emphatic fashion as he finally arrived. Striking home twice with either foot in the space of five minutes, he demonstrated just why he was in such-demand and Manchester City stumped up £27m for his services.

His seventh-minute opener was raw power and finishing ability, making the most of on a stumble from Nikolaos Lazaridis to shoot off the inside of the post. His second moments later was about hitting the target, this time finishing off a sweeping move to quieten the vocal Greek travelling support.

It was game over then, with the hosts keeping the ball and frustrating the poor visiting side.

Ironically Mancini's side have struggled for goals all season when they needed them, so there was no chance of them looking to push on to add to their tally here.

They didn't have to, with Aris offering little threat. The closest they came was when Raul Bonadilla curled a shot way over in a rare fluent foray forward on the hour mark.

Balotelli, who looked interested tonight in contrast to those occasions when he appears to want to be anywhere else but Manchester, struck a post late on. It didn't matter a jot though, with Yaya Touré's 75th-minute deflected goal only illustrating the gulf in class between the two teams on a night when Manchester City simply cruised through.

"My confidence is always good. I always think we can arrive in the final," added Mancini, when asked of his side's chances of winning the competition. "We have to meet Dynamo Kiev and could meet more big teams.

"Dynamo Kiev has a lot of experience, they have played in the Champions League and it will be a very hard game because they're a good team and have experience."

There's no doubt there is room for improvement with Dzeko, despite his two-goal haul, admitting he was far from satisfied with his evening's work. "I'm really happy because it is the first time I've scored two goals in one game," he explained. "It was really important that we started well and we managed to get two goals in the first 12 minutes.

"That was important for the team. But I think I can play much better. I wasn't happy with my last chance and it wasn't the first time this has happened."

Manchester City (4-4-3): Hart, Boateng, Kompany (Zabaleta ,35), Lescott, Kolarov; Silva (Wright-Phillips, 80), Y Touré, Barry; Tevez (Viera, 79), Dzeko, Balotelli. Substitutes not used Taylor, Wright-Phillips, Jo, K Touré, Wabara.

Aris Salonika (4-5-1): Sifakis; Vangeli, Guiaro, Lazaridis, Michel; Prittas, Faty, Neto (Kaznaferis, 79), Toja, Sakata (Mendrinos, 46); Bobadilla (Pardo, 61). Substitutes not used Juanma, Oriol, Cesarec, Koke

Referee P Kralovec (Czech Republic).

Last 16 draw

Ajax v Spartak Moscow

Benfica v PSG

Dynamo Kiev v Manchester City

Bayer Leverkusen v Villarreal

PSV Eindhoven v Rangers

CSKA Moscow v Porto

FC Twente v Zenit St Petersburg

Liverpool v Braga

Ties to take place 10 & 17 March

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice