Champions League preview: Manchester City one foot into quarters as Juventus plot revenge

By Clinton Nyabuto: Tuesday, March 12th 2019 at 19:30 GMT +3 | Football
UCL cover [Courtesy]

The UEFA Champions League round of 16 return leg continues tonight with two matches on the docket.

Manchester City Vs Schalke 04

Manchester City welcome Schalke 04 to Etihad stadium in a tie they are heavily tipped as favourites after a sensational 2-3 away win against their visitors tonight in the first leg at Veltins Arena in February.

Schalke face a barricade as Pep Guardiola’s side have three away goals and play in front of their home crowd tonight. The Royal Blues need to score two goals and concede none to proceed to the next round.

Perhaps, this is an uphill for Domenico Tedesco’s men as the English champions are on a nine-game winning home run in all competitions racking six clean sheets and scoring three or more goals in seven of the nine games.

The Royal Blues have had a poor domestic run as they sit four points above the relegation zone having won just one away competitive match since November last year.

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Raheem Sterling could be lethal tonight after scoring a 13-minute hat-trick last weekend [Courtesy]

Team news

The Citizens will be without playmaker Kevin De Bryune and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo who are sidelined due to hamstring and Achilles injuries respectively.

Left-back Benjamin Mendy joins the injury list as he nurses a knee injury. Defender Nicolas Otamendi and midfielder Fernandinho are suspended for the tie. John Stones is doubtful for the clash due to a muscle injury.

However, Aymeric Laporte is expected to return into action after a hamstring injury that saw him benched in their 3-1 victory against Watford last weekend. Leroy Sane, who scored a magnificent free-kick in the first leg, is likely to start after being rested in the Watford match.

Schalke will be without Daniel Caliguiri who is nursing an ankle injury and Omar Mascarel struggling with a groin injury. Alessandro Schopf is out for the season as he nurses a knee injury.

Players to watch

Raheem Sterling could be lethal tonight after scoring a 13-minute hat-trick last weekend and netting a winner in the first leg of the fixture.

Juventus Vs Atletico Madrid

Massimiliano Allegri’s side trail 2-0 as they host Atletico Madrid in Turin.

Juventus’ fate lies on the hope of a stunning comeback as they plot to turn things the wrong way for Diego Simeone’s side.

Juventus relish a sumptuous current form having scored at least three goals in their last four competitive home games and lost only once in their last 17 home matches.

The Zebras have lost only two of their 18 Champions League home games.

Atletico Madrid, well known for concrete defensive capability, will be hoping to stop Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo who has netted 22 goals and assisted eight in 30 competitive matches against Diego Simeone’s men.

However, the Los Colchoneros will be a hard nut to crack as they have won all their last five competitive matches without conceding a goal and are unbeaten in three away Champions League matches against Italian sides without conceding a goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring for Juventus in a past match [Courtesy]

Team news

Italian veteran defender Andrea Barzagli misses the match due to a muscle injury as counterpart Mattia De Sciglio nurses a groin injury. Brazilian winger Douglas Costa is struggling with a thing injury as defender Alex Sandro is suspended for the match.

Juan Cuadrado and Sami Khedira add up to the absentees with Cuadrado nursing a knee injury while Khedira struggles with illness.

Atletico will be without key striker Diego Costa who is suspended after picking many yellow cards as Brazilian defender Filipe Luis is out due to a calf injury.

 

Players to watch

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 22 goals and assisted eight times in 30 competitive matches against Atletico Madrid. This makes him a threat tonight.

Predictions

Game Yetu predicts that Manchester City will have an easy win over the struggling for form Schalke 04 as Atletico Madrid hold Juventus.

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