April 16th, 2019

Champions League Preview-Man United v Barca and Juve v Ajax

The UEFA Champions League quarter-final second round of games commences tonight! Which teams do you think will be first to book their place and progress to the next round?

Manchester United travel to Spain to take on La Liga-leaders Barcelona, in the next round of Europe’s elite competition.

In the first leg at Old Trafford, the visiting team Barca sneaked an early away goal in the first 12 minutes of the game thanks to Luis Suarez, via a deflection off United left-back Luke Shaw. In what was a wide-opened attacking contest, Man United will be pleased with their first showing but will need to be more clinical when given chances and defend much better. They will attempt to claw back the 1-0 deficit from the previous leg.

It is expected that Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford will be the target men up front, and will lead the spear-headed attack for the English side. Ex-Barcelona winger Alexis Sanchez has been passed fit for the game, so has midfielder Nemanja Matic. Ander Hererra and Eric Bailly have not travelling with the squad, while Luke Shaw is suspended but has travelled with Solskjaer’s men to Catalonia.

Barca rested a whole host of stars for their 0-0 draw with bottom of the table side Huesca at the weekend, including talisman Lionel Messi, defender Gerard Pique, midfielder Ivan Rakitic, forward Luis Suarez and Osmane Dembele only playing 60 minutes before being substituted.

In Tuesday’s other game Serie A leaders Juventus welcome Dutch high-flyers Ajax to Turin, Italy. In the first leg last Wednesday inside the Johan Cruyff Stadium, both teams looked to get their foot in front in order to take one step closer to reaching the final in Madrid.

Like he always does, ex Man United and Real Madid star Cristiano Ronaldo showed up on the big stage, by heading his side into an early 1-0 lead at the 45 minute mark. However Ajax replied though winger David Neres, to pull the score line back to a 1-1 contest at half time.

The Italians-Juve, who sent Spanish-side Atletico Madrid packing in the last round of the CL, will look to reach the semi-final stages of the competition and lift the trophy for the first time since they last won it during the 1996 season. Most recently Juventus where runners up to Real Madrid in the 2017 final, and hope Ronaldo can provide the goods for their side this time and lift the trophy aloft for the first time in 23 years. Ronaldo will be going for his fourth European cup in a row.

Ajax, who have always blooded excellent youth through the years, will look to shock the world again. The Dutch side put an end to Real Madrid’s quest for four in a row, beating the currently holders 5-3 on aggregate in the last 16 stage of the competition.

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