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United out for revenge against Barcelona

Barcelona are leading the tie 1-0. (Agency Photos)

Barcelona vs Man United (1-0 Agg)

Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona

Tuesday, 16-04-2019 @10pm

Referee: Felix Brych (German)

Man United forward Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Nemanja Matic are both available for the tie after recovering from injuries. Sanchez, who played 141 times for Barca in a three-year spell, has been out for six weeks with a knee injury and Matic has missed the past three games. Matteo Darmian has also been included in the 22-man squad after injury but Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly are out.

Barcelona have a host of players returning having missed the 0-0 draw away to Huesca on Saturday. Lionel Messi is fit to play, having suffered a facial injury in last Wednesday’s first leg following a clash with Chris Smalling. Ousman Dembele who missed the first leg through injury is also available having started the draw on the weekend.

Barcelona have never lost a home match against Manchester United in European competition (W2 D2), with their last such meeting finishing 0-0 in April 2008. Of the 70 previous occasions a side has won a Champions League knockout tie first leg away from home, just four have been eliminated (6%). However, two of those instances have been in this season’s competition, including once by Manchester United. In their first-leg defeat, Manchester United failed to register a single shot on target for the first time in a Champions League game since March 2005 (0-1 against AC Milan).

Barcelona have progressed from 39 of their 41 European ties in which they won the first leg away from home – the exceptions were against FC Koln in the 1980-81 UEFA Cup, and against Metz in the 1984-85 Cup Winners’ Cup. They are unbeaten in 30 Champions League home games, the longest such run of any club in the competition (W27 D3). They have also not conceded more than once in any of those 30 games (15 goals in total) since a 0-3 loss to Bayern Munich in the 2012-13 semi-finals. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 22 goals in 31 Champions League games against English opponents, more than any other player in the competition. A total of 13 of those strikes have come in his past nine appearances against English sides at the Nou Camp, including hat-tricks against Arsenal (April 2010) and Manchester City (October 2016). Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has had more shots without finding the net than any other player in the Champions League this season (33).

Manchester United have progressed from one of their four previous European ties in which they lost the first leg at home, though it was in the last round against Paris St-Germain. A total of 90% of Manchester United’s Champions League goals this season have come away from home (nine out of 10). However, they have won just one of their past five away knockout stage games in the competition (D2 L2). United have lost 49 Champions League games – they could become the ninth different club to reach 50 defeats in the competition, and just the second English side (Arsenal, 53).

Juventus vs Ajax (1-1 Agg)

Allianz Stadium, Torino

Tuesday, 16-04-2019 @10pm

Referee: Clement Turpin (France)

Ronaldo has scored in all five games against Ajax.

Juventus duo of Emre Can and Giorgio Chiellini could return after missing the first leg through injury, although Martin Caceres and Mattia Perin are all ruled out. Juve will make a decision on Mario Mandzukic’s participation prior to the game after he picked up an injury. Douglas Costa may be fit enough for a place on the bench.

Frenkie de Jong is a doubt after coming off injured in Saturday’s 6-2 win over Excelsior, with Hassane Bande and Carel Eiting both long term absentees.

Juventus are unbeaten in their past 10 meetings with Ajax, the joint longest run for one side against another in European matches (also Bayern Munich v Benfica). After a run of seven defeats in eight games away against Italian opposition (D1), Ajax are unbeaten in their past four (W2 D2). Juventus are looking to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the third time in the past five seasons, also making the last four in 2014-15 and 2016-17. Ajax are looking to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 1996-97, while they could become the first Dutch side to do so since PSV in 2004-05. The reverse match was only the third time Juventus have drawn the first leg of a Champions League knockout match away from home – they progressed against Rosenborg in the 1996-97 quarter-final, and were eliminated by Manchester United in the 1998-99 semi-final. Ajax have been eliminated on two of the three previous occasions they have drawn the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie at home, most recently in the 2005-06 last 16 against Inter Milan. Juventus have lost two of their past five Champions League home games (W3), as many as they had in their previous 45 (W28 D15). Ajax have won their past two Champions League away games, last winning more consecutively in the competition between November 1995 and March 1997 (seven). Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in his past five Champions League games against Ajax, netting eight goals in total. The Portuguese has also scored 51% of his total goals in the competition in the knockout stages (64/125). Dusan Tadic has been directly involved in 53% of Ajax’s 17 Champions League goals this season (six goals, three assists). The last player to score more than the Serb for Ajax in a Champions League campaign was Jari Litmanen in 1995-96 (nine).

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