City kicked open the door to the last sixteen of the Uefa Champions League with a dominant, clinical showing in Spain.
Like a gunslinger bursting into a western saloon, the Blues had that no-nonsense look about them as they won away from home for the first time ever in Europe’s premier club competition.
In doing so City also became the first English team to win at Villarreal’s home ground.
The Premier League leaders were even able to leave their sharpshooters Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero tucked up on the bench for most of the night and still mosey out of town with three vital points that leaves them in prime position to make the last 16.
It will still take a major shock if Roberto Mancini’s men are to overhaul Bayern Munich at the top of the pile – the Germans were just too quick on the draw for Napoli on Match Day Four – but when the smoke clears there is every chance that City will still be standing tall.
Whatever happens in the last two games in qualification there will be post-Christmas European football for Mancini and his men
...Villarreal 0 City 3...
And that will mean more expert rotation of the squad.
The boss, with one eye on QPR at the weekend when skipper Vincent Kompany serves a one-match ban for his red card against Wolves, was at it again in Spain. In a surprise move he left Joleon Lescott on the bench and gave Stefan Savic a rare start.
Bang in form Mario Balotelli led the attack in his first game in the UCL as a City player after being banned for the first three outings and Micah Richards also took a rest.
Nigel de Jong came into the side to stiffen up the midfield in the imposing, cosy but far from plush El Madigral stadium and once he and James Milner had nailed down the middle of the pitch there was only ever one outcome.
There was a bit of edge to the contest given the way City snatched the points from the first encounter in Manchester with a last minute goal but Villarreal with half their first choice side missing through injury and with no points in the group were never really a potent threat.
In any case their most of their ire was reserved for former Atletico star Aguero and as mentioned earlier he was on the bench until the last 16 minutes.
The yellow brick wall that Villarreal set up in front of their own goal was finally dismantled on the half hour when David Silva pickpocketed a sleepy defender and fed Yaya Toure who finished with aplomb opening his body and curling his shot into the bottom corner.
It was his first goal since the FA Cup final
...Villarreal 0 City 3...
The game ended as a contest in first half injury time when Balotelli was adjudged to have been fouled in the area and he dusted himself down to score the coolest of penalties before giving the home fans ‘the Glare’.
The result was then never in doubt but just to make sure Yaya Toure sashayed onto Balotelli’s 71st minute pass took the ball around the goalkeeper and slotted home his second and the side’s third.
It was some finish by a man still labelled a defensive midfielder by those who don’t believe their eyes.
The remaining twenty minutes allowed Mancini to give some game time to his subs including Aguero who got a hostile reception. It was all the Villarreal fans had to shout about – that and the performance of DeGuzman their stand out player.