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Manchester City v Sporting Lisbon
Sporting Lisbon were considered a potential banana slip having sneaked into the knockouts at the expense of Borussia Dortmund in the group stages, though a 5-0 demolition job in the first leg has left no doubt whatsoever as to who is advancing in this tie.
Man City’s confidence will only have been strengthened by the 4-1 defeat they dished out to Man Utd at the weekend, continuing the superb form they’ve displayed since the start of November. They’re W22-D1-L2 in this time, with just a single defeat across the past 17 as they scored at least four times on eight occasions.
The visitors have also seen their form collapse in recent weeks as they’ve won just two of six matches (W2-D2-L2), with even those coming at home over mid-table Estoril and relegation-battling Arouca. They have still been scoring goals though, with their failure to find the net in the first leg the only time they’ve drawn a blank across their past 32 fixtures going back to the start of October, while they scored at least twice in 25 of them.
They’ll take encouragement from City’s backline not being at full strength, with Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias currently injured, so a centre-back partnership of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte appears inevitable. Kyle Walker is suspended, but Joao Cancelo could still be rested as he’s a booking away from suspension.
Kevin De Bruyne is in the same boat and having picked up a slight knock in the Manchester derby, is unlikely to be risked here either. Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling were unused subs at the weekend and should come in here, though whatever rotation Pep Guardiola decides upon, there will undoubtedly be plenty of quality throughout the team.
With the tie effectively over, it remains to be seen whether Ruben Amorim fields his best team either. Matheus Nunes is suspended in any case, while the trio of Daniel Braganca, Joao Palhinha and Pote are all injury doubts. However, although they shut put up a better effort than they mustered in the first leg, City have led at both half time and full time in five of their last seven at the Etihad, with the exceptions in tough encounters with Chelsea and Tottenham.
MAN CITY HT/FT
Real Madrid v PSG
This tie is firmly in the balance with PSG taking a 1-0 win in Paris, though Mauricio Pochettino will feel his side should be in a more comfortable position after enjoying the best of that first meeting. Real Madrid failed to muster a shot on target and were grateful to Thibault Courtois for keeping them in the game, including a penalty save against Lionel Messi, but were ultimately undone by Kylian Mbappe’s brilliance four minutes into injury tine.
The French superstar is a slight doubt ahead of this one after suffering a slight knock in training, though is expected to make the cut and elsewhere there aren’t too many concerns for the Parisians. Leandro Paredes and Ander Herrera are also doubts in midfield, with Idrissa Gueye and Georginio Wijnaldum ready to step in alongside expected starters Marco Verratti and Danilo Pereira. Sergio Ramos will hope to play some part against his former club, but looks unlikely to feature with injuries continuing to plague the Spaniard.
Real Madrid have an issue in midfield with Toni Kroos injured and Casemiro suspended, so Carlo Ancelotti will turn to a trio of Luka Modric, Eduardo Camavinga, Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde. Left-back Ferland Mendy is also suspended, with 33-year-old veteran Marcelo to deputise, while on the other flank Dani Carvajal (30) is no spring chicken either. Should Mbappe make the starting line-up as expected, and if Neymar produces an industrious performance, Real’s ageing full-back pair could be a weak point the visitors can target.
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