Champions League play-off preview: Man City’s qualification a mere formality

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Previewing this week’s UEFA Champions League qualification play-off second legs…

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Manchester City (5) vs. (0) Steaua Bucharest — Wednesday, (all games 2:45 p.m. ET)

If you want to watch the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling do their thing for Man City, we regret to inform you that you’ll likely have to wait until the weekend for that (home to West Ham United, Sunday, 11 a.m. ET — Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). With a 5-0 lead heading into Wednesday’s home leg against last season’s Romanian runners-up, Pep Guardiola isn’t likely to let any one of his megastars into the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, let alone anywhere near the field.

After snatching five away goals in the first leg, the Citizens’ place in the group stage is but a painful formality. The draw for the group stage will be held on Thursday. PST will have full coverage of the event, including the placement of all 32 teams and instant reaction to each group.

Roma (1) vs. (1) Porto — Tuesday

Neither side scored for themselves during open play in last week’s first leg in Portugal — Roma were gifted an early own goal, while Porto equalized from the penalty spot. Roma head home for the second leg with a slight advantage — their lone away goal. Following a 4-0 victory over Udinese to open the Serie A season on the weekend, one could reasonably argue the current squad is better than in any of their most recent forays into the CL, at least on paper.

Monaco (2) vs. (1) Villarreal — Tuesday

Monaco scored a late winner (72nd minute, through Bernardo Silva) to grab the victory — and a massive second away goal — in the first leg in Spain. Alexandre Pato has resurfaced in Europe, this time scoring Villarreal’s lone goal in that first leg. Monaco have been a CL group-stage competitor each of the last two seasons, looking to make it a third. Villarreal’s last CL fixture was played in April of 2009.

Rest of CL qualification schedule

Tuesday

Hapoel Beer Sheva (2) vs. (5) Celtic
Legia Warsaw (2) vs. (0) Dundalk
Viktoria Plzen (0) vs. (2) Ludogorets Razgrad

Wednesday

Borussia Monchengladbach (3) vs. (1) BSC Young Boys
Rostov (1) vs. (1) Ajax
Red Bull Salzburg (1) vs. (1) Dinamo Zagreb
APOEL (0) vs. (1) Copenhagen