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Real tops Neymar-less PSG; Liverpool advances

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There were no surprises as the UEFA Champions League minted its first two quarter finalists of the 2017-18 season.

[ MORE: JPW’s wild World Cup predictions ]

Paris Saint-Germain 1-2 (2-5 agg.) Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the ninth-straight UEFA Champions League match as Real Madrid drew Neymar-less Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

The tie entered its second leg with Real holding a 3-1 advantage but PSG carrying an away goal.

Ronaldo leveled that in the second half, leaping at the back post to head home work from Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.

Marco Verratti was sent off with a second yellow card, but incredibly that’s when PSG started to impress.

Edinson Cavani got the last touch on a pinballed goal in the 71st minute to open a window of hope for the hosts, but Casemiro finished off a play started by Vazquez to ice the tie.

Zinedine Zidane’s philosophy wasn’t quite parking the bus as it was playing for the counter, and that got the job done as Real took another step toward becoming the first three-peat European Cup winner since Bayern Munich in 1976.

Liverpool 0-0 (0-5 agg.) Porto

Over in Liverpool, there wasn’t a ton to admire about the Reds’ second leg with Porto.

Up 5-0 with all those goals counting as away markers, Liverpool didn’t need to trouble Porto’s back line and did not in the first half.

Iker Casillas made a fin save in the 88th minute on a Danny Ings‘ header of a Mohamed Salah cross.

The Reds had 65 percent of the ball, and outshot Porto 10-8.

LIVE, UCL: Liverpool v Porto; PSG v Real Madrid

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The second legs of the UEFA Champions League last 16 kick off on Tuesday as Europe’s elite club competition reaches a critical stage.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Liverpool host FC Porto at Anfield with the Reds 5-0 up from the first leg in Portugal and basically into the last eight, as Jurgen Klopp is set to rest several key men.

Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain host Real Madrid in the French capital with Les Parisiens hoping to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit against the reigning European champs. Neymar is missing through injury, but PSG’s fans are doing their bit to try and disrupt Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Below is a look at the schedule for Tuesday’s games and you can follow the scores by clicking on the link above, while we have analysis and reaction here at Pro Soccer Talk.


Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 second legs

2:45 p.m. ET: Liverpool v. FC Porto
2:45 p.m. ET: Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid

UEFA Champions League Tuesday: PSG hosts Real, Liverpool leads big

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The first two entrants into the UEFA Champions League’s quarterfinals will be anointed early Tuesday evening, though drama has been stripped from both.

In the case of Porto‘s trip to Liverpool, it’s been torn almost completely off the bone. The Reds scored five times in Portugal, and would need to fold in wild fashion at Anfield in order to give the tie any intrigue.

[ MORE: Recap | Matic reacts | Mourinho, too ]

Liverpool scores loads of goals, so to consider Porto could push for a minimum five away goals without adequate Reds response is bonkers… but could provide for some fun.

Jurgen Klopp is not going to flip his lineup despite a weekend date with Manchester United which will determine who lives the following week in second place.

“We could [rotate], but I’m not sure I will do it because it could be misunderstood,” Klopp said. “I really want to show respect. I want to show respect to the opponent, to the tournament, and I want to have the best line-up possible and the best line-up which makes sense to win the game, because that’s why we are here.

“We are unbeaten so far in the Champions League this season and I would love to stay unbeaten as long as possible. That would help a lot.”

The match kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET Tuesday, as does Real Madrid‘s visit to Neymar-less Paris Saint-Germain.

Real has a 3-1 lead after coming back from Adrien Rabiot’s opener to haul a two-goal lead into Parc des Princes.

Marco Asensio had a pair of assists and Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in the first leg, and Real is laser-focused on the Champions League given their substandard season in Spain.

PSG will have a lot of talent for the second leg, but won’t have presumed Ballon d’Or finalist Neymar. He’s out for multiple months after suffering a leg injury against Marseille.

Dani Alves says he thinks the key is home field, via PSG’s site:

“I think the important thing is to work in the best possible conditions. The club is the key: the club, the supporters and us, the players. It’s all one. We need to be all connected and then we can try and reach our goals. Then it also depends on what we do on the pitch. A fantastic atmosphere inside the stadium isn’t enough if we don’t do the job on the pitch. But a great atmosphere can be the difference in our favour. I repeat: we need to be up to the standard of our fans and their expectations.”

PSG would need a less dramatic reversal of fortunes than the megawatt comeback Barcelona pulled at the Camp Nou last season, and the Parisian side will be well aware of that possibility.

Liverpool: “We could have scored more” in rout of Porto

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Sure, sending Porto to its worst home loss in history is impressive, but Liverpool midfielder James Milner gave a frank assessment of his side’s 5-0 first leg UEFA Champions League Round of 16 win on Wednesday.

“I thought we could have scored more,” Milner said.

[ RECAP: Porto 0-5 Liverpool ]

Sadio Mane scored thrice for Liverpool, and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino also netted for the Reds in the victory.

Mane had been going through a bit of a dry patch, and this will go a long way toward reclaiming his status as one of the club’s best finishers.

Here’s Milner, from the BBC:

“Sadio Mane does his job and does a great job for the team. People see his flair and the goals that he scores but he does a great job working for the team.”

Mane was a bit less effusive than Milner when it came to the Reds’ win.

“Honestly it was not an easy game even if we scored five,” Mane said. “We played great football from the beginning to the end.”

Champions League Weds preview: Real hosts PSG; Liverpool away

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  • Real Madrid are two-time defending champions
  • PSG blanked by Real in 2015-16 UCL group stage
  • Liverpool has eliminated Porto from 2001, 2007 European tournaments

Two of the world’s highest-profile sides meet at the Bernabeu, and Jurgen Klopp tests his UEFA Champions League mettle with an away first leg in Wednesday’s Round of 16 duels.

[ PL PLAYBACK: Moving week arrives ]

Two managerial seats which are seemingly always hot will be as fiery as ever when Paris Saint-Germain visits Real Madrid.

PSG is cruising through Ligue 1, but winning a Champions League medal has been 1a and 1b for Les Parisiens for some time. Manager Unai Emery is no stranger to European success and then some, a verifiable Europa League legend at Sevilla, and sends a trident led by spotlight-craving Neymar and featuring ruthless Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe into the fray.

Not one of the three will feel too out of place in such a big spot, nor will Zinedine Zidane. But Real Madrid‘s manager works under the employ of Florentino Perez, who had the fidelity of Henry VIII without the spousal executions or the singable song.

Real has won three of four in La Liga to steady a wobbly ship, but is out of the Copa del Rey and sits 17 points back of Barcelona with a match-in-hand. The glory-hungry crowd will be champing at the bit for their side in the UCL, which is hoping to see the first threepeating UCL champions since Bayern Munich more than 40 years ago. Suffice to say, their whistles are prepared for the slightest sign of failure.

Then, there’s Liverpool, who at times this season have been the most irrepressible side in the Premier League and have rollicked through 2018 aside from a sadly typical stumble against Swansea City — which doesn’t look so bad given Swans’ continued success — and a bombing out of the FA Cup.

The Champions League, however, has been anything but a cakewalk for the Reds despite a seemingly simple group. After impressing in a qualifying tie with Hoffenheim, the Reds threw away a 2-1 home lead against Sevilla, drew at Spartak Moscow, and then tossed aside a 3-0 away lead at Sevilla over the first five matches of the group stage before pile-driving Spartak at Anfield to waltz into the Round of 16.

Opponents Porto aren’t short on confidence, and first-year manager Sergio Conceicao has the side on top of Portugal’s top flight in a congested three-team race for first. He’s won Serie A, Primera Liga, and Cup Winners’ Cup glory as a player, but would love to put some high managerial lines on his resume.

Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Merega have combined for 31 league goals between the two, with Algerian playmaker Yacine Brahimi rested at the weekend with five goals and six assists on his resume. There’s also Mexico’s trio of Porto stars, including captain Hector Herrera, Diego Reyes, and Jesus Corona.