UCL Preview: Man City hosts Tottenham, Man United faces Barcelona, and more

UCL Preview: Man City hosts Tottenham, Man United faces Barcelona, and more

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UCL Preview: Man City hosts Tottenham, Man United faces Barcelona, and more

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Four teams hopes of advancing into the UEFA Champions League semifinals will end this week.

The second legs of the quarterfinal round kicks off with a pair of league rivals set to square off in Manchester. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City welcomes Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur to the Etihad, looking to overturn a slim one-goal deficit.

The Citizens defeated Crystal Palace 3-1 on Sunday, using a brace from Raheem Sterling to do so. Tottenham rolled past relegated Huddersfield Town 4-0 at their new stadium, with Lucas Moura netting a hat trick in the process. Both teams will throw everything at each other in hopes of booking their spot in the next round.

Elsewhere, Barcelona takes a one-goal advantage back to the Camp Nou as they face Manchester United. The Catalan side holds the away-goal tiebreaker, but the Red Devils will be seeking a second leg win just like they did against PSG in the last round.

Juventus and Ajax are tied heading into the second leg in Turin with the Serie A side having an away goal to their credit. Liverpool takes a trip to Portugal with a two-goal advantage over Porto.

Here’s a closer look at this week’s Champions League action:

Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Wednesday, 3 p.m. TNT. Tottenham leads 1-0)

Injuries of Note: Harry Kane is ruled out for the remainder of the season after injuring his ankle in last week’s fist leg. Dele Alli is questionable after suffering a fractured hand as well, while Harry Winks is doubtful with a groin issue. Manchester City are expected to have everybody back for this tie, except Oleksandr Zinchenko and Claudio Bravo.

Players to Watch: With Harry Kane out, Son Heung-Min will be the likely replacement. The South Korean will play on the wing where he can get after Manchester City’s wingbacks and scored a goal last week. Raheem Sterling is coming off a brace over the weekend and is having his best season in England.

Key to the Match: Manchester City will need to be clinical in front of goal for a chance to advance. Pep Guardiola’s side had chances to score in London but were unable to do so. Tottenham will have to pin Manchester City back in order to not only run the clock, but put the tie out of reach.

Quote: “If you ask me what is going to happen, we’ll be in the semifinals; that is what I feel right now,” Pep Guardiola said. “It’s what I felt right after the game and when I reviewed the game. Maybe I’m wrong but what I feel now, we’ll be in the semifinals.”

Barcelona vs. Manchester United (Tuesday, 3 p.m. TNT. Barcelona leads 1-0)

Injuries of Note: Ander Herrera is set to miss out for Manchester United as he recovers from injury. Luke Shaw is suspended for the Red Devils which means Ashley Young is likely to start in his place. Barcelona have a healthy squad heading into this tie.

Players to Watch: Paul Pogba’s creativity and drive will be needed if Manchester United want to shock another one of Europe’s giants. The French midfielder is having his best season yet in England and can carry the team to a place in the semifinals. Barcelona will rely on the talented pair of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi up top.

Key to the Match: Manchester United will need to have a go at Barcelona from the beginning of the match. They cannot afford to wait for their chances as they are down. Barcelona will look to possess the ball and put their opponents out of the tie early.

Quote: “You look at the quality of those players and that gives us a threat,” Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. “We carry a goal threat and of course what we did against PSG as a team must give everyone a huge confidence boost.”

Juventus vs. Ajax (Tuesday, 3 p.m. B/R Live. Teams tied 1-1)

Injuries of Note: Georgio Chiellini and Mario Mandzukic will miss the tie for Juventus which means other players will fill the void. Ajax will not have Frenkie de Jong at full health after the midfielder left this past weekend’s win with an injury.

Players to Watch: Dusan Tadic’s playmaking ability will need to be at its best if Ajax want to pull another upset on the road. The Serbian has six goals and three assists in this year’s UCL. Cristiano Ronaldo will carry the load for Juventus once again especially with Mandukic not available.

Key to the Match: Juventus will wait for the moment to put Ajax out of the tie with constant possession. Meanwhile, Ajax will go for the match as they are down on the away goal tiebreaker. Expect the Dutch side to pressure early and keep that pressure for 90 minutes.

Quote: “We will have to adopt the same attitude of the match we had with Atletico,” Juventus midfielder Emre Can said. “We will certainly not play for 0-0 and we will certainly try to score.”

FC Porto vs. Liverpool (Wednesday, 3 p.m. B/R Live. Liverpool leads 2-0)

Injuries of Note: For Porto, Vincent Aboubakar is doubtful while Jesus Corona is questionable. Hector Herrera and Pepe should return though after missing last week’s trip to Anfield. Jordan Henderson is fighting to be fit for the second leg for Liverpool, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana remain out.

Players to Watch: Sadio Mane is on fire for Liverpool of late and the forward will be tough for Porto to stop. Mane’s pace and skill makes him one of the best at his position. Porto will call on Moussa Marega to come up with the goods after a goal and assist over the weekend.

Key to the Match: Liverpool hold the advantage and will look to continue attacking their Portuguese opponents. Full field pressure is Jurgen Klopp’s ideal plan while Porto will need to be composed on the ball and create chances on goal.

Quote: “We go to Porto now, which will be a tough one, and we will play there as good as possible,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said. “It will be an interesting and difficult challenge.”

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