The draw for the last eight of European football’s top club competition has thrown up some mouthwatering fixtures.
The Champions League is coming to that stage when every remaining team can smell the proverbial sausages as they begin to gear themselves up for the race to Madrid. The Round of 16 was one of the most memorable in recent years and has set the stage very nicely for the rest of the tournament.
We at Khel Now have compiled a list of the top five reasons to look forward to the Quarter Finals of the Champions League,
5. Ole’s return to the Camp Nou
“And Solskjaer has won it”. Those words ring loud in the ears of Manchester United fans all over the world. 20 years to the day that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won United the treble by prodding his side ahead in the last minute of the game, the Norwegian returns to the Camp Nou with a rather different role. Ole’s Manchester United have been rampant in both the League and the Champions League and will be hoping to shock their Champions League bogey team, Barcelona.
4. Porto’s search for revenge after last season’s drubbing at the hands of Liverpool
The English and the Portuguese sides met in the Round of 16 of last season’s tournament with Liverpool putting Porto to shame in their own backyard and winning by five goals to nil. Porto will go into this game the definite underdogs but will be hoping that their heart and determination that saw them past Roma in the last round will help them put up a fight against the seemingly irrepressible reds.
3. A battle of total football vs pragmatism when Juve face Ajax
Ajax of Amsterdam have long taught their players to play football the way Cruyff did. It was the real birthplace of total football and not once in recent years has it been on as grand a display as it was when the side took apart the reigning champions, Real Madrid in their own backyard. Juventus, on the other hand, come into the game as one of the tournament favourites with arguably the competition’s greatest player chomping at the bit for more action.
The match will be one of total football against Allegri’s pragmatic approach to the game and will be a spectacle from a tactical standpoint.
2. Harry Kane vs Sergio Aguero, A battle of strikers
Both Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero light up the Premier League stage on a weekly basis and will soon do battle in European competition in what will be an open attacking game that will suit both strikers. Both City and Tottenham breezed past their Round of 16 opponents and will be raring to go at each other as soon as the whistle blows in April.
Kane and Aguero are regarded as two of the world’s elite strikers and we can quite safely expect goals from their encounter in the quarter finals.
1. Underdogs giving the favourites a run for their money
If the Round of 16 taught us anything, it was that nothing is ever certain in football. Ajax, Manchester United, Porto and Juventus all came back from near damning deficits to earn a spot in the last eight. The draw has shown that each game has very distinct favourites and underdogs. A game that is played over two legs is never certain. Anything is possible. The favourites would do well to keep complacency at bay and focus at the task at hand.
Football however, is the ficklest of all mistresses and could throw a spanner in the works of the UCL this season. All we can do is sit back and enjoy as the story unfolds.