Champions League Round of 16 Preview: Part 4

Porto vs. Malaga

James RodriguezLikewise to the Valencia-PSG tie, this fixture seems to be outshone by the other dazzling fixtures ahead, but with an array of talent on display, it would be rude not to watch.

Porto have been going neck and neck with Benfica for many years now, and yet again we see the two Portuguese toe to toe. Only the goal difference separates the two. With this in mind, will Porto give a high importance towards Europe?

Malaga on the other hand have been the surprise package in Spain, others tipped them to fail what with their financial trouble, but I’m going to tip them as the team to watch in this tournament. Most definitely the dark horse this year.

Key Players

Throughout the years, Porto have lost and found world class strikers, such as Falcao and Hulk, but they have also managed to replace these quality attackers with players such as Martinez and Rodriguez. A Columbian theme certainly runs through this club. That’s why I believe the key players for Porto will be none other than Jackson Martinez and James Rodriguez.

Malaga’s threat will be well known throughout the football world. That threat is 2012 Tuttosport’s Golden Boy Isco. The Spanish playmaker has been the catalyst of Malaga’s threat so far this season, having scored two goals in the Champions League  already. I feel that if Isco steps up to the occasion, Malaga will advance.

Prediction

Malaga are the team to watch in this competition. Yes, they may be cash strapped at the moment but I believe they have enough quality to advance to next round. I’m going for a Porto win in the first leg and a Malaga win in the second which will see them advance on goal difference.

1st Leg: Porto 1-0 Malaga
2nd Leg: Malaga 2-0 Porto

Real Madrid vs. Manchester United

Robin van PersieI have saved the best for last. Arguably the most mouth-watering of ties in the round of 16. It’s Ferguson vs. Mourinho, Rooney vs. Ronaldo, Los Galatictico’s vs. The Red Devils. A true clash of the titans.

I can see Mourinho putting his all into this game. His side sit 3rd in La Liga with no hope of catching the rampant Barcelona. The Champions League is perhaps Mourinho’s only chance of keeping his job in the Bernabeu hot seat.

Madrid and United have some history against each other, the most recent being the thriller of a Champions League quarter final 2003 in which Real Madrid advanced 6-5 on aggregate. This game is must watch, no doubt about it.

Key Players

Real Madrid have a whole host of threats that could hurt Manchester United, their main one coming from a player who is well known to United: none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world at the moment, having tallied up an impressive 24 goals in 22 starting appearances. He may have Sir Alex Ferguson ruing the day he once let him go.

£24 million pounds? Injury prone? Past his day at 29? All these questions where thrown about the day Manchester United got their man Robin Van Persie. It was a gamble but my God did it pay off! Having already scored 18 goals in 22 games in his debut season, RVP  has been seen as the man to guide United to their 20th title. He will certainly have a say in both legs.

Prediction

Being a Manchester United fan, I’m finding it hard to predict this one. My heart says United, but my head says Real. If the Reds can manage a score draw or even a 2-1 loss in the first leg, they will have a big chance of advancement. I really couldn’t call this game, but what I will say is that if Real Madrid advance to the next round, they will go on to win the Champions League. You heard it here first.

1st Leg: Real Madrid ?-? Manchester United
2nd Leg: Manchester United ?-? Real Madrid

Written by TheFootballSupplement