Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw gave us a lot to be excited about. Many were wondering who would get the favorable match-ups. Although at this stage of the competition, there may not be such a thing. Each one of these eight remaining squads have worked so hard this season to get to this point. Now they are 4 matches away from a Champions League final.
The first match of the draw pits Ajax against Juventus. Ajax is coming off a spectacular come from behind victory against champions Real Madrid. Ajax were predicted to lose the tie, especially after the first leg where Madrid center back, Sergio Ramos, purposefully received a yellow card so he could avoid getting a suspension later in the tournament for bookings. This of course backfired in his face as he had to watch his team get eliminated by the underdogs. Now that Ajax beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s former team, they must beat him and his current team, Serie A champions Juventus. Ronaldo will look to take his side into the semi-finals and continue his Champions League dominance. I am predicting that Juventus wins this tie by a score of 4-1. I believe that the Old Lady will be able to handle the business and move on to the semis with ease.
The next match is Liverpool-Porto. For many, Liverpool is clearly the favorite to win this tie. The reds have just come off a great 3-1 win against Bayern Munich and knocking them out of the tournament. Porto was also able to capitalize on Roma mistakes to win their tie 3-1. Liverpool look to be the stronger of the two teams. Their front three of Salah-Mane-Firmino are almost unstoppable when all are in form. I have Liverpool winning this tie easily by a score of 4-0.
The next match is a top three Premier League match-up between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. City is coming off an impressive 10-2 aggregate win against German side Schalke 04 while Tottenham beat Borussia Dortmund 4-0. Premier League fans around the world will love this game. I believe that City will win this tie, but not as easily as the first two. Although Spurs are in terrible form at the moment, they are one of the most dangerous teams in England on their good days. A healthy Kane, Alli, and Eriksen can take over games and make it impossible to win. However, the depth of Man City may be too much to the London side. It’s pretty scary when the 2016 PFA player of the year, Riyad Mahrez, is sitting on the bench because you already have Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, and Leroy sane up front. I think City will walk away from this tie with a 3-2 win.
Last but not least, we have the match of the round: Barcelona – Manchester United. Barca is coming off an easy 5-1 victory against French side Lyon while United pulled off one of the most memorable comebacks of all time against PSG. Anytime two powerhouses like these two meet in the Champions League, all football fans win. These teams are no strangers to each other. They faced each other in both the 2009 and 2011 Champions League final where Barcelona won both matches. I think Lionel Messi will keep his promise to Camp Nou fans in which he stated that they will bring the European championship back home to Barcelona. I have Barcelona winning this tie by a score of 3-1.
The Champions League quarter-finals will begin April 9.