Manchester City, the English champion, and Barcelona, Spain, are looking to secure their qualification to the quarter-finals of the Champions League football competition through City’s victory over Young Boys of Switzerland (at 12:00 pm UAE time), and the Catalan team over Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine (at 21:00). :45 UAE time), while Italian Milan is desperate for revenge against its French guest, Paris Saint-Germain, who crushed it in the last round by three clean goals (12:00 pm UAE time).
In Group Seven and at Etihad Stadium, City will be a candidate to emerge victorious from its confrontation with its guest Young Boys and achieve its fourth victory, which will allow it to reserve its ticket to the final 16, two rounds before the end of the group stage.
City previously defeated the Swiss team in its stronghold 3-1 during the last round thanks to a brace by Norwegian Erling Haaland, who is presenting another exceptional season in the “Citizens” colors after scoring 11 goals in 11 matches in the Premier League and 13 in 16 matches in all competitions.
After the victory over Young Boys in the third round, Guardiola said that his Norwegian striker needs to be better equipped with balls, adding, “This young man will score goals all his life. He is an incredible threat, but sometimes we miss players who are able to make the necessary pass, to determine the rhythm.” Like what (Belgian) Kevin (De Bruyne, absent due to injury) and (German Ilkay) Gundogan (who moved to Barcelona, Spain) did.”
City leads the group with a full score, three points ahead of German Leipzig, which in turn will guarantee its qualification to the final 16 if it wins over its host, Serbian Red Star, coinciding with the Premier League champions’ victory over Young Boys, because both the Serbian and Swiss teams have an orphan point from three matches. .
After defeating Young Boys in the first leg, City achieved two big results in the Premier League, defeating its neighbor Manchester United in its stronghold 3-0, then sweeping Bournemouth 6-1.
A difficult stage awaits City
Guardiola’s team is entering a difficult phase, as next Sunday it will host Chelsea and then host Liverpool, Leipzig and Tottenham, which is competing with it at the top of the Premier League, which will make it determined on Tuesday to resolve the issue of reaching the final price and devote itself to what awaits it locally.
In Group Eight, Barcelona is hoping for a fourth victory, also at the expense of its “host,” Shakhtar Donetsk, which is playing its home matches in Hamburg, Germany, due to the Russian invasion of its country.
The Catalan club does not want to miss the opportunity to qualify for the final 16, which will be its first in the competition since 2021, but the task will not be easy, especially as it suffered against the Ukrainian team in the last round before emerging victorious 2-1.
After this victory, the confidence of coach Xavi’s men was shaken as they lost the league “Clasico” on their home turf to rival Real Madrid 1-2, before they regained some of their balance on Saturday by winning away from home over Real Sociedad 1-0 in a match in which the advantage was in favor of the Basque host.
“Sometimes football cannot be explained,” Xavi said after this victory, acknowledging that there is a need for “self-criticism” in order to develop.
Certainly, the football played by Xavi’s Barcelona is a far cry from the team’s heyday under Guardiola, or even from the dynamic performances that saw them win the Champions League in 2015 under Luis Enrique.
Xavi has previously said that in the modern era it is no longer possible to be as dominant as it was when he was a Barcelona player, but the team will not stop trying to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors.
Xavi said that what cannot be allowed is a monotonous performance, as happened against Real Sociedad in San Sebastian, adding, “Today is an example of what we should not do, especially with regard to rushing… This is unacceptable. This cannot be allowed.” But he went on to say that “winning without playing well is something a champion team does.”
Barcelona leads the group with nine points, three ahead of Porto, which will move steadily to the final 16 if it wins over its guest, Antwerp, Belgium, which does not have any points, especially if Barcelona wins over Shakhtar, which has three points.
Milan faces a difficult mission of revenge
At the San Siro Stadium, Milan seeks to revive its hopes by obtaining one of the two Group 6 cards and take revenge on its guest, Saint-Germain, who humiliated it in Paris by three clean goals, but the task will not be easy for coach Stefano Pioli’s men, who have not achieved a win in any of their last four matches locally. Continentally, in a series that included their loss among their fans to Juventus, 0-1, and then on Saturday, to Udinese, also 0-1.
The Lombard team, which won the title seven times (the last of which dates back to 2007), is in last place with two points obtained from a draw with Newcastle United of England and Borussia Dortmund of Germany, who face each other on Tuesday at the former’s stadium and are at the same distance with four points, while Saint-Germain leads with six points.
Like Milan, the other Italian team Lazio is looking for revenge against the Dutch Feyenoord when it hosts them in Group E after losing to them in the last round 1-3, in order to remain in the heart of the struggle for the two qualification cards.
Feyenoord leads the group with six points, only one point behind Spain’s Atletico Madrid, which hosts Scottish club Celtic (one point), while Lazio occupies third place with four points.
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