Preview: Manchester City vs Sporting Lisbon – predictions, team news, line-ups

Sports Mole preview Wednesday’s Champions League clash between Manchester City and Sporting Lisbon, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.

After claiming an emphatic 5-0 victory in the first leg, Manchester City welcome Sporting Lisbon at the Etihad on Wednesday for the second leg of their Champions League round of 16.

The Citizens have one foot in the quarter-finals of the competition as they strive to hold on to their hopes of a domestic and continental treble.

Match Preview

© Reuters

Pep Guardiola There is no need to recall how many times the Champions League eluded him during his time at Man City, but his side set a milestone in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie against the Portuguese champions in title.

Bernardo Silva struck twice alongside the efforts of Rahim Sterling, Riyadh Mahrez and Phil Foden to effectively kill the tie within 90 minutes, and a similar ruthless streak was on display when bitter rivals Manchester United visited on Sunday.

Indeed, Guardiola’s men gave their boisterous former neighbors a lesson in football in a 4-1 to restore their six-point lead at the top of the Premier League table, with City winning seven of their last eight matches in all competitions. before the return match. .

Since the 2016-17 season, the Citizens have failed to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and a slice of history is also at stake this week, as City could equal the record six consecutive wins at residence. in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Moreover, each of City’s last 10 home games in Europe’s elite competition have seen the Premier League champions find trump cards – scoring at least two goals on each occasion – and Sporting are only realistically playing for pride this week.

Sporting Lisbon's Joao Palhinha looks dejected after Manchester City's Bernardo Silva scored his fourth goal on February 15, 2022© Reuters

While there is certainly no shame in coming out second against Man City, the manner in which Sporting capitulated at home to the English champions was alarming for Ruben Amorimwhose team must pull off the biggest Champions League comeback in history to advance.

It will come as no surprise to learn that no team has ever come back from a five-goal first-leg deficit to qualify for the Champions League, with Barcelona’s extraordinary comeback against Paris Saint-Germain there. is five (0-4 away and 6-1 at home) representing the next best thing.

On a more positive note for Sporting, they didn’t drop a lead domestically and entered the second leg having won two and drawn one of their last three Primeira Liga games, including one. 2-0 success over Arouca on Saturday thanks to Islam Slimanethe hug.

Sporting have never made it past the Champions League knockout stages and that is extremely unlikely to change this week, with the Portuguese side only reaching that stage once before in 2008-09 and losing ironically the first leg of that 5-0 draw for Bayern Munich. The German giants then finished the job with an even bigger margin of victory in the second leg, 7-1.

Man City and Sporting have only met at the Etihad once before – with the Citizens winning 3-2 in the Europa League Round of 16 but being dropped on away goals – and once or two consolation strikes will surely be the only potential joy for the visitors on Wednesday.

Manchester City Champions League form:

Form of Manchester City (all competitions):

Sporting Lisbon Champions League form:

Form Sporting Lisbon (all competitions):

Team News

Manchester City's Kyle Walker leaves the pitch dejected after being shown a red card on December 7, 2021© Reuters

Man City right-back Kyle Walker is due to serve the second of a three-game European ban this week, so Oleksandr Zinchenko can expect to be drafted on the left side as Joao Cancelo takes his place on the right.

Guardiola must do without Ruben Dias for at least four weeks due to a hamstring injury, and it remains to be seen if Nathan Ake will be able to shake a blow in time to figure Wednesday, while Cole Palmer and Zack Steffen continue to struggle with foot and back injuries respectively.

With the tie almost won, Guardiola can choose to rest Kevin De Bruyne – who would miss the first leg of the quarter-finals if booked here – as Ilkay Gundogan returns to the man in the engine room.

As for the Sporting, Amorim has its own suspension to work around in the form of Matheus Nunesso Manuel Ugarte should supplement visitors this week.

Two big names from Joao Palhinha and Pedro Goncalves are also likely to miss out through injury, so Amorin might be forced to pair Ugarte with a 16-year-old Dario Essugo between.

On loan from Manchester City Pedro Porro will likely line up against his parent club again on the right side, as it comes to a two-man shootout between Slimani and Paulinho to lead the line.

Possible starting lineup for Manchester City:
Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling

Possible starting line-up of Sporting Lisbon:
Adam; Reis, Coates, Inacio; Porro, Ugarte, Essugo, Vinagre; Sarabia, Slimani, Edwards

SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 3-0 Sporting Lisbon

Sporting can afford to play at the Etihad without fear knowing that their efforts are likely to be wasted anyway, but the absence of two key midfielders poses a danger to the beleaguered visitors.

City need not throw caution to the wind given their healthy five-goal lead, but Guardiola will still expect his side to win with minimal difficulty as quarter-final preparations begin.


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