UCL quarterfinal 2nd legs: Predictions, key battles

Final week’s first legs within the 4 Champions League quarterfinals supplied up a contrasting of video games that every one entertained in their very own manner and, crucially, stored the ties alive into their respective second legs.

Can Manchester United come again to upset Barcelona? Will Cristiano Ronaldo ship but extra heroics for Juventus? Can Liverpool grasp on at Porto? Will Manchester Metropolis thrash Tottenham? We get you prepared for the second legs.

Soar to: Juve-Ajax | Porto-Liverpool | Man Metropolis vs. Tottenham

Barcelona vs. Manchester United

AGGREGATE SCORE: Barcelona lead 1-0
WHEN: Tuesday 4/16, Three p.m. ET / eight p.m. BST

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE FIRST LEG: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer obtained artistic together with his techniques in an effort to thwart and shock Barcelona, however they weren’t flummoxed within the least by his again three. Even a sub-par Barca — who admittedly obtained a bit lucky with the Luke Shaw personal aim — managed to cease United from having fun with a single shot on course.

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE RETURN LEG: Barcelona can be rested, as Ernesto Valverde neglected 9 regulars towards Huesca, whereas the minutes are including up for Manchester United, as Solskjaer himself admitted after the poor efficiency towards West Ham. Barcelona could have the luxurious of with the ability to decide their spots (and maintain the ball) and be affected person.

WHAT UNITED HAVE TO DO TO QUALIFY FOR THE SEMIFINAL: Rating, clearly, and you may gamble just a little as a result of away targets rely double, which means a 2-1 win would see United by. They did job of disrupting Barcelona’s midfield at Previous Trafford, however failed to show that into clear-cut probabilities. With Nemanja Matic prone to return, they could be higher served sitting and attempting to hit on the counter or by way of set items.

WHAT BARCELONA HAVE TO DO TO QUALIFY FOR THE SEMIFINAL: Primarily, handle the sport. If they’ll restrict Paul Pogba‘s artistic impetus and exploit what’s prone to be an unfamiliar defensive system for United, given Luke Shaw’s absence, they are going to be midway there. If, as anticipated, United sit off them a bit, they might want to do a significantly better job at protecting possession than they did at Previous Traford.

BATTLE TO WATCH: Luis Suarez vs. Chris Smalling/Victor Lindelof. Valverde’s Barca is extra pragmatic than previous variations. They know once they must be affected person and so they’re completely happy to depend on expertise and guile. Suarez has loads of each. You could not see him for lengthy stretches and out of the blue he is in your face.

WILD CARD/STORYBOOK SCENARIO: Many United followers would like to see Alexis Sanchez and his wages journey out of city. What higher manner than to return off the bench and rating the important thing aim towards his previous membership after six weeks on the sidelines?

FINAL PREDICTION: Barcelona 2-Zero Manchester United (Barcelona advance 3-Zero on mixture). There may be simply an excessive amount of of an imbalance right here by way of type, high quality and expertise.

Juventus vs. Ajax

WHEN: Tuesday 4/16, Three p.m. ET / eight p.m. BST

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE FIRST LEG: The Ajax efficiency we noticed towards Actual Madrid was something however a fluke. Juventus confirmed them loads of respect and Ajax nonetheless discovered a manner by, grabbing an equalizer early within the second half and controlling the match for stretch after the break, till Max Allegri settled issues down once more.

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE RETURN LEG: Juventus’ away aim means they advance with a 0-Zero draw on the evening and that offers Allegri the choice of inviting Ajax ahead and trying to hit on the break. It additionally offers Juventus the luxurious of congesting the center and attempting to regulate the tempo, a job made simpler by the seemingly absence of stand-out Ajax midfielder Frenkie De Jong, who limped off with a muscular damage on the weekend.

WHAT AJAX HAVE TO DO TO REACH THE SEMIFINAL: Exploit the large areas and ship crosses into the field, significantly if Joao Cancelo (great going ahead, much less so defensively) is enjoying on the best. In the event you permit Juve to congest the center and attempt to play by them, particularly with out De Jong, it may possibly flip into an extended evening.

WHAT JUVENTUS HAVE TO DO TO REACH THE SEMIFINAL: Allegri can strategy this many alternative methods, however a secret is to not go away Ronaldo remoted. By now we have discovered he is at his finest whenever you commit runners round him, whether or not it is Federico Bernardeschi or Douglas Costa, together with Mario Mandzukic. Go for the jugular and take a look at Matthijs de Ligt and Daley Blind.

BATTLE TO WATCH: Noussair Mazraoui vs. Juve’s wing. He may be, and has been, devastating down the best flank. Whether or not it is Ronaldo, Blaise Matuidi or, behind them, Alex Sandro, it’s vital that he be contained.

WILD CARD/STORYBOOK SCENARIO: Moise Kean is not anticipated to start out, although maybe he ought to. {The teenager} has notched six targets in his previous six appearances for membership and nation, plus he has the legs and intelligence to shock Ajax’s again line if the guests get just a little top-heavy.

FINAL PREDICTION: Juventus 2-Zero Ajax (3-1 mixture). De Jong’s absence is solely a game-changer and Allegri has a spread of permutations and approaches that Ajax will wrestle to match.

Porto vs. Liverpool

AGGREGATE SCORE: Liverpool lead 2-0
WHEN: Wednesday 4/17, Three p.m. ET / eight p.m. BST

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE FIRST LEG: Porto by no means fairly go away. Whereas Liverpool scored two first-half targets and noticed out the tie, the guests fought again gamely and got here near scoring an away aim, regardless of key absentee Hector Herrera. Liverpool additionally aren’t the kind of facet who’re at their finest once they handle leads.

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE RETURN LEG: Porto assault with velocity and precision, so it will likely be tempting for Liverpool to unleash their vaunted entrance three on the counter. However Jurgen Klopp has talked repeatedly concerning the menace they pose, so we should always see extra of a toe-to-toe contest.

WHAT LIVERPOOL HAVE TO DO TO REACH THE SEMIFINAL: In the event that they discover the web at any level, Porto would wish to attain 4 occasions to advance and also you merely cannot see that occuring. That is one thing Liverpool cannot lose sight of. Be aggressive in midfield, push the full-backs up and bear in mind who you’re.

WHAT PORTO HAVE TO DO TO REACH THE SEMIFINAL: Yacine Brahimi was an issue for Liverpool within the second half and with Herrera again to stiffen up the center of the park, Porto can dictate play. Moussa Marega might want to have his ending boots on: Alisson twice denied him one-on-one at Anfield.

BATTLE TO WATCH: Virgil van Dijk vs. Pepe. We’ll seemingly solely see this one on set-pieces however it will likely be a correct, old-school conflict between two defensive heavyweights. Few gamers are as disruptive as Pepe; few are as commanding as van Dijk.

WILD CARD/STORYBOOK SCENARIO: Iker Casillas was profitable Champions Leagues when Robert Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have been nonetheless in elementary college. Porto cannot afford to concede and it could be Disneyesque if “San Iker” preserves a victory.

FINAL PREDICTION: Porto 2-2 Liverpool (Liverpool advance 4-2 on mixture). Porto can rating when they should however Liverpool have tons of firepower and this has the hallmarks of an open sport.

Manchester Metropolis vs. Tottenham Hotspur

AGGREGATE SCORE: Tottenham lead 1-0
WHEN: Wednesday 4/17 , Three p.m. ET / eight p.m. BST

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE FIRST LEG: Pep Guardiola’s tinkering — leaving out Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne for Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan — in all probability did him no favors and when Metropolis go the unfamiliar route of specializing in defending, they are not excellent at it. (Witness the time and area allowed Christian Eriksen for Spurs’ aim.) Heung-Min Son is a big-game participant whose starvation is relentless and who poses match-up issues.

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE RETURN LEG: Tottenham can be with out Kane, and although their file in his absence is freakishly good, it is clearly an enormous loss. Count on them to defend their mixture lead and attempt to exploit the counter, whereas Metropolis attempt to conjure up a kind of possession-heavy, old-school Guardiola performances.

WHAT TOTTENHAM HAVE TO DO TO REACH THE SEMIFINAL: Nicking a aim would power Metropolis to attain three, which is a tall order even for them. Lucas Moura and Son have the quickness and athleticism to supply a primary line of excessive urgent and a menace behind towards Metropolis’s again 4.

WHAT CITY HAVE TO DO TO REACH THE SEMIFINAL: Keep on with what they’re good at: protecting possession, committing males ahead and going vertical with intelligence and creativity, which they’ll do since Bernardo Silva is match once more and De Bruyne, hopefully, will not be on the bench.

BATTLE TO WATCH: Sergio Aguero vs. Tottenham’s protection. When the availability of probabilities is nice, he is prone to rating. When it isn’t, he can wrestle to create his personal. If Tottenham can stifle him, it might lead Metropolis to power issues, both by people or pictures from distance.

WILD CARD/STORYBOOK SCENARIO: He turned 34 final month and has scored all of two league targets in additional than a season and a half at Tottenham however Fernando Llorente is clever, an aerial menace and a massively underrated passer. Think about him coming off the bench to attain the aim that sends Tottenham by.

FINAL PREDICTION: Manchester Metropolis 3-1 Tottenham (Man Metropolis advance 3-2 on mixture). Metropolis are the higher crew, so it’s a must to decide them to advance. However I am not assured right here. In any respect.

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