Mon, Feb 12, 10:21am by Staff Writer
The knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League have arrived as Europe’s best clubs meet in a two-legged tie played over a month. The first week of action sees EPL leaders Manchester City in action, as well as an incredible match for the neutral with big spending Paris St Germain facing off against Real Madrid.
FC Basel v Manchester City, Wednesday 14th February 2018, 6.45am (AEDT)
The EPL title appears to be secure for Manchester City, but the huge investment from overseas owners will only really pay dividends when they make their mark in Europe. Expectation rests on Pep Guardiola’s shoulders but the manner in which his side are playing football this season has them as heavy favourites to advance in this tie. After a 5-1 demolition of Leicester in the league, they head into the game priced at $1.33 to win the first leg and 1.09 to advance to the next Round.
Despite being underdogs for this game, Basel will have the belief that they can cause an upset. Indeed, on home soil already this season they have defeated City’s title rivals, Manchester United, in the group stages. This is their fourth time at this stage of the competition and will be looking to go one better for the first time – although they stand at $9 to win the game and $6.50 to advance.
Bet of the Match – Draw 1-1 at $10
Real Madrid v Paris St Germain, Thursday 15th February 2018, 6.45am (AEDT)
When the draw for the Round of 16 was made this match was most definitely the one that stood out to soccer fans around the world. Real Madrid are the most successful club in the competition in both its current format and the previous European Cup having won the trophy 12 times. With a squad bristling with talent including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, they are searching for an incredible third Champions League victory in three years. Regardless of their poor form in La Liga, where they sit 16 points behind leaders Barcelona, they have the capability to reach their best on European nights. They stand at $2.40 to win the first leg but only $2.02 to qualify.
PSG are priced as favourites to advance to the next Round at $1.73 with a win away from home in the first leg at $2.75. They have the advantage of playing the second leg at home knowing what will be required of them. With a world class attack force including Neymar, Edison Cavani and Angel Di Maria, expect them to secure at the minimum an away goal to take back to Paris. As ever they are flying in their domestic league but the Champions League remains an elusive prize for PSG having never won the competition.
Bet of the Match – Real Madrid to Win 2-1 at $8.50
Other Week 1 ties:
Juventus ($1.91) v Tottenham ($4.20)
Porto ($3.10) v Liverpool ($2.30)
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