It’s been a goal-packed afternoon so far with five goals between the two matches.
Romelu Lukaku kicked off the action for Manchester United with a quick, second minute finish in a match with three defensive blunders leading to all three goals. Paris Saint-Germain hit back with a goal from Juan Bernat, who ghosted past Eric Bailly to tie the match on the night. Bailly eventually limped off the field, adding to Man United’s injury crisis. He was replaced by Diogo Dalot.
[VIDEO: Lukaku, Bernat score in game’s opening minutes]
Moments after putting a cross just wide of the post, Marcus Rashford decided to take a strike from distance on the wet pitch, and his calculations proved successful. Gianluigi Buffon was unable to control the dipping strike which struck the ground before the goal, and Lukaku pounced on the rebound to put Man United within a goal of extra time and two goals of advancing to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.
In the other match of the day, host Porto took the lead in the 26th minute through Tiquinho, which put them in the drivers’ seat to advance on away goals. However, Roma struck back with a Daniele De Rossi penalty kick, giving them the one-goal advantage again. De Rossi was substituted just before halftime, with Lorenzo Pellegrini coming off the bench to replace the Roma captain.
Neither Manchester United nor Paris Saint-Germain’s defenses seemed focused and ready to go in the early part of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League matchup.
In just the second minute, Man United’s Romelu Lukaku latched on to a poor pass from Thilo Kehrer that was intended for Thiago Silva. Lukaku jumped the pass and zoomed in on goal, rounding PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and scored on a tight angle to give Man United the early lead.
Yet PSG reclaimed their two-goal advantage in the 12th minute, when it appeared Eric Bailley completely missed that Juan Bernat was directly behind him. The Spaniard ran right past Bailly and slotted home for an easy goal to make it 1-1.
Manchester United’s hopes of taking hold of their UEFA Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain became a little stronger on Monday afternoon.
PSG manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed at a pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s match in Manchester that Edinson Cavani will miss the first leg with a hip injury. That leaves Tuchel and PSG without two key attachers, as Cavani joins Neymar on the sidelines.
[READ: UEFA Champions League Last 16 Predictions]
Taking Cavani’s place up top will be the French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, who of course is still a star and will cause a lot of problems for Manchester United’s defense. Mbappe has 18 goals in 17 Ligue 1 matches, as well as three Champions League finishes. However, just one of Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar is better than having to handle all three.
Cavani has 22 goals in all competitions this season, including a pair in the Champions League and 17 in 16 matches in Ligue 1, making this a big blow to Tuchel’s hopes on the road.
Manchester United enters the match with wins in 10 of its last 11 matches, which has vaulted the Red Devils back into the top four of the Premier League. With players getting fit and the team in great form, suddenly Man United is the in-form team and the one that seems more likely to win this tie than when the draw was announced.
Although Ajax managed to make its way through to the UEFA Champions League group stage with relative ease, Tuesday’s two other fixtures had quite the drama to determine the other clubs that will join the Dutch side.
[ MORE: Lampard’s Derby County cruise, while Cardiff, Huddersfield eliminated ]
Ajax finished scoreless against Dynamo Kiev on the afternoon, after winning the first leg 3-1 in Amsterdam. The Dutch giants have reached the UCL knockout phase in each of the last eight seasons.
An early second-half penalty kick gave AEK Athens a lead over Vidi, and a 1-1 draw was good enough to see the Greek side through 3-2 on aggregate to the UCL group stage.
A late red card from Hélder Lopes made for a dangerous final 10 minutes for the hosts, but Athens managed to see out the result to progress in the competition.
Meanwhile, Young Boys received a stellar performance from Guillaume Hoarau in the second half of their match to top Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) in order to advance.
Zagreb led after just seven minutes when Izet Hajrovic broke the deadlock in front of the home supporters, however, the Croatian side couldn’t hold off their Swiss counterparts.
Tuesday’s UCL results
AEK Athens 1-1 (3-2 on agg.) Vidi
Dinamo Zagreb 1-2 (2-3 on agg.) Young Boys
Dynamo Kiev 0-0 (1-3 on agg.) Ajax
The quarterfinal round of the UEFA Champions League wraps up on Wednesday as Real Madrid look to finish off Juventus and Bayern Munich looks to do the same to Sevilla.
[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a Goal of the Year candidate in the first leg, perfectly connecting on an audacious bicycle kick to give Real Madrid its 3-0 advantage heading into the Bernabeu. Ronaldo starts again in the second leg while Gareth Bale comes off the bench to start up top with the Portuguese international.
Juventus meanwhile have a huge hole to dig out of and ultimately need a minimum of three goals and a clean sheet to force extra time. This could be the final Champions League game for Gianluigi Buffon, and what a place to make your final appearance.
Bayern meanwhile picked up a 2-1 win on the road at Sevilla, and could cruise into the semifinals with a goal at the Allianz Arena. Both Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery start, with younger players such as Corentin Tolisso available off the bench. Sevilla has a big job to do, and its fans will be hoping Wissam Ben Yedder can come up with another couple of big goals in Germany.
Click on the link above to follow the action live, while the schedule and lineups for both games is below.
We will have analysis and reaction from both games right here on Pro Soccer Talk.
Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinals second leg
Real Madrid v. Juventus- 2:45 p.m. ET (3-1 aggregate)
Bayern Munich v. Sevilla- 2:45 p.m. ET (2-1 aggregate)