It’s time for a new dose of a Champions League show
Manchester United welcomes Barcelona in one of the biggest clashes in the Champions League this season. Both teams face each other in the first quarterfinal match at Old Trafford tonight. Chief Referee will be Gianluca Rocky from Italy.
In the previous round, the Reds eliminated one of the contenders for the Paris Saint-Germain trophy, and now another champion for the title, Barcelona, has been defeated. The Catalans also dealt with the resistance of a French opponent in the eighth finals – Lyon, but their task was far easier.
In today’s clash Barcelona is definitely entering as a favorite, given the results of the two teams lately. United recorded three wins and three defeats in their last six matches, while the Spaniards are on the wave at the Primera Liga.
The big question to the host manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, is whether he will be able to rely on Marcus Rashford who was curing the trauma. The attacker, however, had several activities with the team and will most likely be in line for the important match. Nemanja Matice also returns while Ander Erera will miss the meeting.
Today’s match will be the first between Barcelona and Manchester United since 2011, when the “Catalonians” have overtaken the English with 3: 1 in the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium.
Historically, however, United can boast that there is not a single loss from Barcelona in the European club tournaments of Old Trafford. For the last two teams played at this stadium in the 2007/2008 season, when the “red devils” made a 1-0 draw.
For Barcelona, this will be the 17th participation in the Champions League quarter-finals, which equals Germany’s Bayern München. Barca will also play in this phase for the 12th consecutive time, which is an absolute record in the tournament.
In 79% of the time, Barcelona continued on when it was a guest in the first match of the elimination phase. Another interesting fact is that Lionel Messi has scored 22 goals in 30 games against English opponents in the tournament, but has not managed to score in the 11th quarterfinals in the Champions League. For the last time he scored at this stage of Pari Saint-Germain in April 2013.
The winner of the quarter-final between Manchester United and Barcelona will meet the semi-finals of the Liverpool-Porto winner. Last night the “red” took a comfortable advance in the first match after Anfield 2: 0.
Meanwhile, Ajax welcomes Juventus in the other quarterfinal clash this evening. The Dutch have created one of the biggest surprises in the tournament in recent years, eliminating in the previous round Real Madrid, thus stopping the “kings” on their way to the 14th title of the race.
Juventus also made a real feat, defeating Atletico Madrid with a hat-trick to Cristiano Ronaldo in the rematch. It was the Portuguese who was the biggest questioning about the “old lady” before today’s game because he was treating trauma. Ronaldo, however, will be on line for the Johan Cruyen Arena meeting and will most likely even start as the champion for the Italians.
However, Giorgio Chiellini and Emre Jan will miss the crash in Holland due to injuries.
This will be the ninth game between Ajax and Juventus in the strongest European club tournament. For the last time, they met in November 2004. Ajax has not won the Italian Grand Prix since 1973 when he won 1-0 in the cash game final in Belgrade.
Juventus has not lost Ajax in nine consecutive matches in Europe – five wins and five draws.