Palpable tension has gripped fans of European football across the globe as the first leg of round 16 of this season’s UEFA Champions League takes place mid-week. Here are the previews for the first four matches.
MANCHESTER UNITED VS PSG
The Theatre of Dreams in Old Trafford will be turned into Theatre of War when French champions, Paris Saint Germane storm England to take on a rejuvenated Manchester United.
While the French side topped Group C ahead of another English side, Liverpool, Manchester United finished second behind Juventus of Italy.
PSG forward Angel Di Maria will be taking on his former club, whom he left in 2015 in order to sign with the French side.
This match will be a great test for United’s caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his boys, who have been doing very well since the sacking of Jose Mourinho. The visitors are the leading scorers so far this season with 17 goals.
The last time Manchester United reached the quarter-finals was in 2014 while PSG reached the last eight in 2016.
TOTTENHAM VS DORTMUND
Tottenham will be chasing their first home win in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League when they welcome the German league leaders, Borussia Dortmund.
Spurs defeated the German side home and away in the group stage last season. On the other hand, Dortmund defeated Spurs in the last 16 of the Europa League during the 2015/16 season.
This is one of two encounters in this round that is not featuring a domestic league champion, the other being Ajax vs Real Madrid.
ROMA VS PORTO
Stadio Olimpico will be the battlefield when Portugal champions, FC Porto storm Rome, the capital of Italy, to take on AS Roma.
The visitors were ruthless last two seasons when they eliminated the Italians 4–1 in the play-off round.
Porto has not lost any matches in the campaign so far, and they defeated Roma in their two recent meetings, scoring six and conceding only one goal.
Both teams will miss a key player each due to suspension. While Roma will not have the services of Pellegrini, Porto will miss Jesus Coroona.
Remember that AS Roma got to the semis last season.
AJAX VS REAL MADRID
The defending champions and three-time consecutive champions, Real Madrid will storm the Johan Crujff Arena to take on Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam.
The last time Ajax defeated Real Madrid was as far back as the 1972/73 season’s semi-final. Real Madrid won their last six meetings.
While the Spaniards are gunning for a fourth straight title, Ajax is hoping to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2003.
Real Madrid won their last six matches against Ajax, scoring 20 goals and conceding only two. However, Ajax is yet to lose a match in this season’s campaign, and they will surely want to extend their unbeaten run.
By Delight Caesar
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