Even neutrals can feel the tension in the air as Premier League powers Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur collide in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Spurs emerged from the first leg with a terrific 1-0 score line coming off the boot of Heung-Min Son. That means no away goals to Pep Guardiola‘s potent City, a draw, or a scoring one-goal loss will be enough for Spurs to advance to the UCL semifinal and a date with Ajax.
“We have a small advantage but everything can turn very quickly so it’s important to come here with ambition, to stick with our basics as usual but if we come here with the mentality to score goals it’s going to make the game harder for Manchester City,” said Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. “We know it’s going to be tough, we’re going to suffer, but it’s important to be ready in our minds not just to defend but to be ambitious in our performance. … The mentality is very important in a big game like this one and we’ll see what we will deserve.”
On the City side, there’s good news in that Pep Guardiola’s possession-based, attack-heavy model doesn’t yield a lot of chances and the players will be well-drilled when teams play on the counter.
Pep Guardiola obviously knows how to motivate players, but he used the press conference to get City supporters in the right frame of mind. He basically dared them not to find a high level at the Etihad Stadium. From The Manchester Evening News:
“Do it for the guys, they are so proud,” Guardiola said. “We need them in our bad moments, at this stage we cannot go through. … I want to see that they want to get to the semi finals, not just the players, the fans too. I want to see that.”
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool would need to fall flat on their face at the Estadio do Dragao, relatively speaking, to avoid a second-straight semifinal.
The Reds hold a 2-0 advantage after one leg at Anfield, which means Porto would require a three goals or better win to advance in Liverpool’s place.
That’s not to say Porto lacks the fire power to score, but one goal from the visitors means the hosts will need to bag four. Liverpool has only allowed three goals once this season, in a 4-3 defeat of Crystal Palace, and last allowed four against Roma in last season’s UCL semis.