Friday 20 October 2017 / 11:26 PM

UCL ROUND OF 16: SECOND LEG PREVIEW

The Champions League resumed last week, starting with another 5-1 masterclass delivered by Bayern Munich against Arsenal, winning 10-2 on aggregate. Real Madrid once again came from behind against Napoli to win 3-1, finishing 6-2 on aggregate. Borussia Dortmund blasted away Benfica 4-0, winning 4-1 on aggregate.

But Barcelona stole the show with one of the all-time greatest games and comebacks in Champions League history, progressing despite being 4-0 down from the first leg to Paris-SG. Scoring three goals in the final seven minutes to win 6-1 on the night, the Spanish giants prevailed 6-5 on aggregate.

Will the second week of return fixtures throw up as many goals and excitement? Let’s have a look:

Leicester v Sevilla – 6:45am (AEDT), Wednesday, March 15 @ Leicester City Stadium, Leicester (Sevilla lead 2-1)

Expectations are low for Leicester to progress despite this being the closest match score-line wise of this week’s four showdowns. After sacking manager Claudio Ranieri two weeks ago, Leicester have since made progress in the Premier League. With interim manager Craig Shakespeare in charge, Leicester have defeated Liverpool and Hull City by 3-1 scorelines.

Leicester will know how much of a challenge Sevilla will be. Sevilla know they can’t afford to be comfortable, sitting back away from home without pressing – look at what happened to Paris-SG last week.

Sevilla know the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Ahmed Musa do better when there is space left behind them, with Vardy scoring on a quick break between these two sides in the first leg. Expect Sevilla to have their backline sitting deep with their midfield pressing hard to avoid the speed of Vardy and co.

Juventus v Porto – 6:45am (AEDT), Wednesday, March 15 @ Juventus Stadium, Turin (Juventus lead 2-0)

Juventus welcome Porto to Turin expecting to progress comfortably after a fiery encounter in the first leg. Alex Telles had a brain fade in that clash, getting booked twice in under two minutes while defending to get himself sent off. All Porto could do was sit back after being down to 10 men, but it took Juventus substitutes Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves to finish the home side off.

Porto need to try something different coming into the second leg. Oliver Torres can expect to start, having a reputation as being a playmaker in the attacking third. Striker Andre Silva will also look forward to having the chance to play a full game, being sacrificed last time around because of Telles red card. Porto need to make the most of the chances they get, as Juventus are very unforgiving at home.

Monaco v Manchester City – 6:45am (AEDT), Thursday, March 16 @ Stade Louis II, Monaco (City lead 5-3)

After an incredible fightback from being down twice at home to win 5-3, Manchester City know not to take Monaco lightly. Given the ridiculous score in the first leg, Monaco would feel quietly confident about only having to win 2-0 to progress to the quarter-finals on the away goals rule.

Pep Guardiola might be tempted to recall Claudio Bravo between the sticks. Willy Caballero was responsible for some of the madness on the night despite saving a penalty; the keeper was caught advancing off his line by Radamel Falcao for Monaco’s third goal. With both teams going full throttle in the first leg, expect Manchester City to play more cautiously this time, with Guardiola generally not being a fan of having to deal with such high-intensity, end-to-end shootouts.

Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen – 6:45am (AEDT), Thursday, March 16 @ Estadio Vicente Calderon, Madrid (Atletico lead 4-2)

The old saying of ‘boys against men’ can accurately sum this one up. Atletico Madrid are coming home to the Calderon expecting to complete the job against Bayer Leverkusen after dismantling them in the first leg.

Saul Niguez opened the scoring with a wonderful goal in the first leg, going for a run on the right-hand side and cutting in to finesse the ball perfectly into top left corner. Atletico were clean and crisp when on the ball, although Stefan Savic’s lack of communication ended up seeing him conceding an own goal, with keeper Miguel Angel Moya attempting to clear a cross right near him.

Don’t expect Bayer Leverkusen to pull anything heroic off. This represents a chance to continue to give younger players such as Kevin Kampl, Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz experience playing in the big league.

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About the author

Brett Sinclair

Sport has always been a big passion in Brett's life and he aims to share his vision with Commentary Box Sports' readers. Based in Melbourne, Brett covers AFL, NRL, cricket and football for CBS.

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