VILLARREAL, Spain, November 3 – A brace from Toure Yaya helped Manchester City cruise to a 3-0 victory away to Villarreal in Champions League Group A on Wednesday and give them a fighting chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
It was City’s first away win in either the Champions League or its predecessor the European Cup.
Despite leading the way in the Premier League, City made a slow start in Europe but now with home and away victories over Villarreal, who are yet to pick up a point, they have moved up to seven points, two more than Napoli who lost to leaders Bayern Munich who have ten.
City’s chances of progressing are in their own hands with a match away to Napoli and then finally they entertain Bayern in Manchester.
Toure, who won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2009, put City ahead after 30 minutes and then Mario Balotelli added a second from the penalty spot in first half injury time.
City always looked a class above their Spanish rivals and Toure sealed the win on 70 minutes.
“This win puts us second which is very important with two matches to go. I think that we are on top of the situation,” said City manager Roberto Mancini.
“It was an excellent win which started off with the first goal. Before that the game was quite even and we found it difficult to break down their defence. The second goal was crucial as it was a big blow for them and helped us to close the game.
“We are now a lot better. The team is growing and we need to continue this way and continue to look for bigger goals.”
Despite the comprehensive defeat Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido backed his players.
“They gave the best that they could. We were without a lot of players but more important than anything was that we showed the right attitude and the team will overcome this,” he said.
“There is still a long way to go in this season and we have plenty of aims ahead of us. We will try and get six points from the remaining games in the Champions League and then in the (Spanish) league we want to be up at the top.”
Villarreal have had a disappointing start to the season due in part to an injury crisis and their win at the weekend over Rayo Vallecano was their first in eight games.
Hernan Perez tested City keeper Joe Hart from distance in the opening minutes but the visitors quickly began to dominate in the middle of the pitch as Villarreal seemed happy to sit back and counter-attack.
The plan seemed to be working as City, who had Balotelli as a lone striker, were kept away from dangerous areas while youngster Joselu Moreno, making his Champions League debut, failed to latch onto a lofted ball over the City defence when he might have done better.
In-form David Silva began to exert more of an influence on the game and hit a free-kick against the wall after being upended by Wakaso Mubarak on the edge of the area.
City had not created a clear-cut chance before Toure put them ahead on the hour mark with a finish that was made far too easy by the Villarreal defence.
Receiving the ball from Silva he was given time inside the box to set himself up and fire past keeper Diego Lopez and then City went into the break with a two-goal cushion after Mateo Musacchio pulled back Balotelli in the box.
It was Balotelli who coolly dispatched the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Balotelli and Silva continued to trouble the Villarreal backline in the second-half and City added a third with 20 minutes to go through Toure.