Etihad Stadium plays host to the semi-final first leg of the 21-22 edition of the UEFA Champions League between Manchester City and Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
MANCHESTER CITY STATS, FORM, SQUAD
Still in search of their first European title, Manchester City needed just one goal and a goalless draw in the Spanish capital to scrape past Atletico Madrid in the quarters and progress to the semi-finals for the second season running. However, their treble hopes were dashed by Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals, but a 5-1 thumping of Watford in their last premier league outing keeps their dreams of a domestic and continental double very much alive. Pep Guardiola’s men are undefeated at the Etihad in the Champions League since a 2-1 loss to Lyon back in September 2018 and have already found the back of the net 13 times in their five home matches in the tournament this season. Defensive absentees will be an issue for Pep Guardiola as Kyle Walker and John Stones are major doubts and Joao Cancelo is suspended. the likes of Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez will all anticipate recalls to the starting lineup despite Gabriel Jesus’s quartet of strikes on Saturday. Predicted lineup: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Foden.
REAL MADRID STATS, FORM, SQUAD.
Having overturned a 1-0 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the tournament, the tables very nearly turned for Real Madrid against Chelsea, who were on the verge of completing a phenomenal comeback from a 3-1 first-leg loss at Stamford Bridge. However, an exquisite pass from Luka Modric set up Rodrygo to volley home and force extra time, where the head of Karim Benzema sunk the Blues and book Real Madrid’s spot in the last four of the competition. Also battling for a La Liga title, Carlo Ancelotti’s men enter the first leg of the semi-final having triumphed over Osasuna 3-1 on Wednesday night – despite two penalty misses for Benzema. Los Blancos are on a six-game winning streak away from home across all competitions, scoring three goals in each of their last three on rival turf – but Man City poses a greater challenge side as no team has ever won away from home against two separate English teams during the knockout rounds of a single Champions League tournament. David Alaba, Ferland Mendy, and Casemiro are major doubts, Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, and Mariano Diaz are ruled out with injuries. Luka Modric was rested midweek and is set to return to the starting XI. Predicted lineup: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Marcelo; Kroos, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius.
ACCUMULATOR TIP: BTTS & OVER 2.5
ANYTIME GOALSCORER: KARIM BENZEMA