No matter what happens in the next round, at least one premiership club will be in the champion’s league semifinals. The question now is whether we will have another premier league club joining the winner of the Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City tie. Spurs go into the second leg with a one-goal lead, although they will be playing at the Etihad without their main man, Harry Kane.
All Spurs need to do is to make sure they don’t lose the game and they will be through. This is easy to say but is that even possible against the high flying Manchester City?
Pundits believe City shot themselves in the foot in the first leg due to unnecessary tinkering of the lineup. That is a mistake Pep Guardiola is not likely to repeat in the return leg. But, in truth, was that all it was? Are we being disrespectful to Spurs?
Are we not acknowledging the tactical imput of Mauricio Pochettino? Well, the second leg will give us a clearer picture. Juventus or Ajax is waiting for the winner of this tie in the semis. Not so secretly, both teams would prefer to meet Ajax, if only to ensure Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juve brothers don’t spoil the fun for them.
Before Spurs or City get too confident and comfortable in hoping to meet Ajax, they will do well to remember the treatment the mighty Real Madrid received from the youthful Dutch club.
Going by results and performance from the first leg, Liverpool are favourites to brush aside the challenge from Porto and qualify for the semis where they will meet the winner of the tie between Barcelona and Manchester United.
United lost at home to Barcelona in a match Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side did not have a single shot on target. Old Trafford faithful’s will be hoping for a repeat of the performance against PSG where they beat the French side 3-1 in Paris after losing the first leg 0-2 in Manchester.
They are probably the only ones with that faint hope. PSG may be expensively assembled, but they do not have a Lionel Messi in their squad. One moment of magic is all it takes to kill off any dreams.
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So, going by what appears on paper, we can safely say Liverpool will be joining either Spurs or City in the semis. But can we safely say that any of the three will make it to the finals in Madrid?
Can we even be greedy and hope for an all English finals? If only wishes were horses…