4 teams can already celebrate that they’ve made it in to the last 8 of the world’s finest club football tournament. Tonight, two more quarter finalists will be decided, as English giants Manchester United take on Sevilla while Roma will be up against the Ukrainian champions Shakthtar Donetsk in the Italian capital.
Manchester United – Sevilla
After a rather un-eventful, yet interesting 0-0 draw in their first meeting, it’s time for these teams to show what they’re made of! After an impressive victory against Liverpool during the weekend, United are coming in to this game with high spirits. If they produce the same attacking quality and efficiency that they showed in the first half against Liverpool, they can cause Sevilla all kinds of troubles.
Sevilla, on the other hand, lost 2-0 at home to Valencia and will have to pick themselves up if they’re to have any chance of making it through this evening. With the away-goal rule in mind, scoring an early goal could be all that Sevilla needs…since United will then have to score at least twice!
If the Spaniards can keep United under control during the first half, I think this game could turn out to be a bit more exciting than what most United-fans are hoping for. Worthy of note is that Sevilla has won 4 of their last 6 away-games.
United are still struggling with a rather extensive list of injured players, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Daley Blind. Pogba might be ready to play but will remain a question mark until kick-off.
Sevilla are almost completely free of injuries, but are missing Jesus Navas, the winger who did so well at right back in the first game. His speed was key to keeping United under control and he will be deeply missed in tonight’s game.
United will have to be vary of Sevilla’s counter-attacks, but if they can reach a level close to what they showed us during the weekend, I think we will see yet another English team in this year’s quarter finals.
Roma – Shakhtar Donetsk
The first leg between these two teams is still fresh in our memory! Both teams gave us plenty of fireworks, as the Italians took the lead just before half time. But Shakhtar fought back and managed to turn things around, as they secured a 2-1 victory in the end.
Ahead of tonight’s return in Rome, Italian head-coach Eusebio Di Francesco, has said that Roma needs to start this game at full pace and try to dominate the proceedings from the get-go. Since Roma managed to score in the first game, a 1-0 victory would take them through to the quarter finals. Many believe, however, that the Ukrainians attacking power will make it difficult for Roma to keep a clean sheet, and they might need to produce more than a couple of goals to qualify for the next round. I believe we’re in for a legendary game of football!
Both teams come in to this game with some strong performances recently. Shakhtar have just kicked off their season and have claimed nothing but victories so far. Since they last played, Roma have beaten top-side Napoli with 4-2 away from home and recorded an impressive 3-0 win against Torino last Friday.
Both teams go in to this game with a couple of minor injury problems. Roma’s Gregoire Defrel might feature in tonight’s game, but defender Rick Karsdorp is still missing due to a long-term injury.
Shakhtar defender Sergiy Kryvtsov still haven’t recovered from the injury he sustained in their first meeting and a likely replacement is Ivan Ordets, the player who did so well replacing him that game.
It’s worthy of note that Shakhtar have beaten Roma in 4 out of their last 5 competitive games. The Ukrainians haven’t made it to the Champions League quarter finals since 2011, when they beat…that’s right…Roma 6-2 on aggregate. If Roma manage to qualify this evening, it will be the first time they reach this stage since 2008.
I’m excited for this one and I’m going to stick my nose out and guess that Shakhtar will qualify for the quarter finals!
Tune in again tomorrow, for more previews of the games between Besiktas and Bayern Munich and Spanish league leaders Barcelona against Chelsea.