Champions League Round of 16 part two
The Champions League returns this week as teams look to overturn first-leg deficits and managers toy with strategies that will see them through to the quarterfinals.
As usual, a boost for every game and a few cents for you to take to the sportsbook.
Real Madrid (2) – (1) Ajax
Real are likely to get backed to the hilt for this one, as per usual, when playing seemingly inferior opposition at home. But are we being foolish?
Los Blancos’ last victory at home came in a 3-0 win over Alaves on the 3rd of February and have lost their last three in Madrid on the spin.
Ok, so two of those losses were against the mighty Barca, but still, there appears to be a bit of a hoodoo hanging over the Bernabeu, and to add, captain and leader Sergio Ramos will be missing through suspension!
On the contrary, Ajax’s form has resulted in three wins from three since the first leg, at an aggregate score of 13-1 with two of those victories away from home.
The home-faithful will be expecting on Tuesday night and could start to turn should the visitors be in with a fighting chance at the half.
Of course, one of Madrid’s superstars may take the game away from Erik ten Hag’s charges, but if the Amsterdam outfit can keep their cool and take Santi Solari’s side into the latter stages with the match tie still in question, an upset may just be on the cards.
Dortmund (0) – (3) Tottenham
BVB, quite uncharacteristically, surrendered three goals when these two met back in London three weeks ago. The match seemed to be heading for a narrow Spurs victory to set up a tasty return leg before two late goals turned the tie on its head.
It’s interesting to see how Pochettino approaches this given their three-goal advantage. Dortmund have plenty of quality on the front foot and could easily notch a couple of goals and send the Spurs back-line into panic mode, but a single away goal for Tottenham would require the Germans to bag at least five on the night or bow out of the competition.
You’d have to fancy the Londoners to get on the scoresheet and advance to the next round, albeit in a defeat on the night.
Porto (1) – (2) Roma
Roma take a slender advantage to Portugal on Wednesday night, though both teams have fallen on hard times in recent weeks and will be looking to get back to their best for the run-in.
I Giallorossi suffered a 3-0 defeat to bitter rivals Lazio at the weekend while Porto was beaten 2-1 at home to Benfica, subsequently demoting the Dragões to second place in the Primeira Liga.
On to the match, Porto have quite the home record in the Champions League and tend to make it difficult for travelling teams to settle into any sort of rhythm. Couple that with Roma’s stuttering form of late and you have a candidate for last place on Thursday’s Champions League highlights reel.
We’re not expecting fireworks, as you can imagine, but both teams to score and Roma to hold on to their advantage seems to be the wisest option for a boost.
Draw & Both teams to score @ 4.70
PSG (2) – (0) Manchester United
What is it about PSG and the knockout stages of the Champions League that get those little voices in the back of our mind’s going lol!
It’s fair to say the Parisians will be happy with their two-goal advantage having swept aside United at Old Trafford a few weeks ago, but is two goals enough?
This is the part where we highlight PSG’s inability to convert a 4-0 first-leg lead into qualification for the next round back in 2016 -17, when Barcelona hit them for six, knocking the French-side out 6-5 on aggregate.
Is it possible history could repeat itself? Absolutely! United are in decent form and have shown under Ole Gunnar that they can rival the best of teams.
It’s going to be a tough ask for the Red Devils, but risk it, we will, if only for the look on the faces of Neymar and Co.