AThe anthem of the "League of Champions" by Tony Britten resonated in Europe this week, fans across the continent enjoyed two nights of clbadic European football that featured an all-English eliminator in the new stadium of 1,000 million Spurs, the men of Jurgen Klopp receive the Portuguese champion, the Dutch oppressed face the Old Lady and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer welcome Messi and company to a cold Wednesday night at Old Trafford.
Now, in its half-time interval, the second and most crucial stage of next week, it's the perfect time to evaluate the quarterfinals. Who managed to score the goal away so important? Who is plagued by injuries and suspension? And who will do it in the semifinals? Keep reading to discover …
Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Manchester City
Just ten minutes away from the Spurs' first European game in their bright new stadium, Raheem Sterling threw himself into the box and produced a shot that was blocked by his England teammate, Danny Rose. Although there were no handball appeals from City players, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) soon reviewed the replays in super slow motion before informing his colleague on the field that he should award a penalty (for most fans ). Confusion).
The penalty of Hugo Lloris immediately saved Tottenham when they took over the game, relentlessly attacking the City goal for a long period before Son Heung-min finally, and brilliantly, broke the deadlock. The only worry for Mauricio Pochettino is the presumed ankle injury of Harry Kane, who went down the tunnel after facing Fabian Delph. The Spurs manager said he could be out "for the rest of the season" and then it was confirmed that it was related to his recurring and recurring ankle problem.
The city, despite a few peaceful counterattacks, did not create enough clear opportunities and its performance once again suggests that they have a mental block when it comes to the great European nights. They still have to win against the English opposition in the competition and, after the full-time whistle, İlkay Gündoğan admitted that they are "nervous" when playing in Europe. The loss of Bernardo Silva before the start and the decision of Pep Guardiola to leave Leroy Sané and Kevin De Bruyne out of their starting lineup were very expensive.
However, with Kane on the sidelines, Dele Alli suffering a broken hand and in the City at home, the Spurs should be at their best next week. The game is still very much at stake, but betting against Pep is always a risky business and it is unlikely that he misses two games in a row.
Second stage prediction: The progress of Manchester City (sorry, Poch).
FC Liverpool 2 – 0 FC Porto
After the drawing of the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp argued quickly that those "with an adequate idea about football did not want to have Oporto", even though the Portuguese team is the least feared of the eight teams remaining. But after the clash on Tuesday, Klopp proved to be very wrong. Liverpool fans will be somewhat disappointed by the fact that the game ended with only two niles: they had a goal offside for offside and countless scoring opportunities.
Porto offered no real threat in the future and they found themselves camped on the edge of their own box for most of the 90 minutes. Former Liverpool player and law expert Mark Lawrenson said that "Porto looked, at best, as a low-middle-tier Premier League team."
Although the Estádio do Dragão in Porto is a very difficult place to go, Liverpool will be full of confidence due to the fact that they kept a clean sheet at home. If they score in the second city of Portugal, the draw will be almost over (Porto would have to score four unanswered …) and it would be naive to suggest that the three forwards of the Reds will not lick at the prospect of increasing their goal European arrives next week.
Second stage prediction: Progress of Liverpool (duh).
Ajax 1 – 1 Juventus
Possibly the most surprising team to reach this stage of the competition, Ajax sent fear to all the remaining teams after sending Real Madrid to its own 4-1 stadium in March. And they started the game against Juventus on Wednesday night in the same way, with fluid attacks, one-touch pbades and sharp shots from the edge of the box.
Typically, the man who put one on the scoreboard was Cristiano Ronaldo, his 125th goal in Europe. But apart from his diving header and an energetic race and a shot from end Douglas Costa that hit the post, Juve seemed a bit flat and, as the tie progressed, they were content to defend their only goal.
Like the Spurs vs. City game, this pairing is still very balanced. Ajax, with Frenkie de Jong pulling the strings in the midfield, will seek to re-apply the pressure when playing in Turin, while Juve will have a magic moment from his star man once again. Our bosses tell us that the Old Woman will successfully eliminate the young Dutchman and win with the clbadic Italian fashion (nil-nil and, therefore, with goals away from home), but our hearts are imploring us to support this rejuvenated side of Ajax to cause quite annoying and reaches the semifinals for the first time since 1997.
Second stage prediction: Progress of Ajax (heart on head).
Manchester United 0 – 1 Barcelona
Possibly the worst team against which you can face, Manchester United pulls the short season of the Champions League in the draw for the quarterfinals. Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembélé, Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué … the talent in the ranks of the Catalans is truly phenomenal. Despite this, the Solskjaer team (and Chris Smalling in particular) did not seem intimidated, due to their heroics against Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round.
By far, the quieter game of the two nights, Barca did not play especially well, but managed to score a slightly lucky goal, with the help of VAR, when the head of Suarez deviated from Luke Shaw. Messi never got to his rhythm, as he has recently returned from an injury and received a Smalling blow that caused a nosebleed.
United fought well, with Scott McTominay performing a fantastic performance, while Paul Pogba was absent (again) for long periods. They failed to test Marc-André ter Stegen and at the 90 minute mark they had not yet produced a single effort on the target. In any case, United fans will be a little disappointed not to have capitalized on a disappointing Barça.
For United to progress, they will have to dig deeper than in Paris, something that does not happen easily twice in football. Barcelona have won 27 of their last 30 Champions League games at home and will most likely be dominated again next week, extending the huge Camp Nou field and allowing Messi to do what he does best. If United manages to win, it will be a performance that competes with the one they produced in a European final about 30 years ago, which happened in the same stadium.
Second stage prediction: The progress of Barcelona (comfortably).
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