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Champions League semifinals picks, predictions, odds: Inter advance, Manchester City top Real Madrid


The first UEFA Champions League finalist of the season will be determined on Tuesday when Inter and AC Milan battle on the same pitch as they did just last week, followed by the marquee matchup as Manchester City host Real Madrid. The first leg in Milan ended with an emphatic 2-0 victory for Inter, meaning a one-goal loss at the San Siro will be enough to advance to Istanbul’s June 10 final, while on the other side of the bracket the match is tied 1-1 has the sides head back to Manchester.

Paramount+ is your home for all-things UCL. We’ve got all the pregame and postgame coverage you need plus make sure to check out CBS Sports Golazo Network for the tactical cam. Here’s what you need to know about the games, our expert picks and more:

Tuesday’s broadcast schedule

Wednesday’s broadcast schedule

  • UEFA Champions League Today, 2 p.m., Paramount+ and CBS
  • Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m., Paramount+ and CBS
  • Tactical Cam: Manchester City vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m., CBS Sports Golazo Network
  • UEFA Champions League Post-Match Show, 5 p.m., Paramount+ and CBS Sports Network

Match picks: Inter vs. AC Milan

Inter

By Francesco Porzio

One player to watch: Hakan Calhanoglu – The Turkish midfielder went close to score the third goal of the first leg that could have put Inter closer to the final. The former AC Milan player didn’t play during the weekend against Sassuolo and will likely start as a playmaker in the 3-5-2 of Simone Inzaghi on Tuesday. He’s a crucial player for the Italian coach and his performance in the first leg was one of the main reasons for the Nerazzurri’s 2-0 success. 

Underrated X-factor: Inter showed a strong defense in the first game especially with Matteo Darmian and Francesco Acerbi, two players that were not even starting at the beginning of the season when Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar were the starters for the team coached by Simone Inzaghi. The former Lazio coach can now count on four potential starters for three spots, with Skriniar currently injured who will likely miss the rest of the season, before joining Psg as a free agent. 

Biggest reason they’ll win: Inter scored two goals in the first leg away and most importantly didn’t concede any. On top of that, the Nerazzurri gave the impression that they could have scored even more goals, especially in the first half. Simone Inzaghi’s team have the chance to play their first UCL final since 2010 and play the second leg in front of the home fans at San Siro, which will give them extra support on Tuesday. AC Milan will also have to deal with the absence of Ismael Bennacer, who will miss the rest of the season after picking up a knee injury during the first leg last week. 

Biggest reason they’ll lose: AC Milan hope to make a sensational comeback and score at least three goals, and Inter might underestimate the reaction of their city rivals, who are also coming from another Serie A defeat away against Spezia. The Rossoneri will also have Rafael Leao playing from the start of the game, after the Portuguese striker missed the first leg due to a groin injury. His pace and talent can definitely overturn the result of the first leg. 

AC Milan

By Jonathan Johnson

One player to watch: Rafael Leao — As with the first leg, all eyes will be on Rafael Leao and his potential involvement here. The Portuguese star is back in training and Milan need him if they are to harbor any hope of making the final. Even with him back, it feels a stretch for the Rossoneri after their first leg capitulation.

Underrated X-factor: Given the fans’ recent frustrations over the team’s loss of form at a crucial moment in the season, the fact that they are considered the “away” side here could help to forge the right mentality to at least stand a chance of overturning this. Inter thrived in the visitors’ role last time out and Milan will hope to do the same.

Biggest reason they’ll win: Stefano Pioli’s side cannot possibly be as poor as they were in the opening leg and now they are not only sliding out of Champions League contention in Serie A, they might miss out on Europe altogether. This is a chance to change those fortunes and Milan need to seize it as early as possible.

Biggest reason they’ll lose: The opening leg did such damage to Milan that it will be very difficult to recover now. Leao or not, the Rossoneri are facing an uphill battle and Inter are strong favorites to advance. Even if Pioli’s men get the win here, there is no guarantee that they do it by two or more goals to at least force extra time.

Prediction

By Francesco Porzio

After winning 2-0 the first leg last week, Inter are the leading candidates to qualify for the 2022-23 Champions League final, but will need to be aware that AC Milan will try everything to overturn the result of the past week. Inter will make it, but won’t be as easy as expected. Pick: Inter 1, AC Milan 1. 

Match picks: Manchester City vs. Real Madrid

Manchester City

By James Benge

One player to watch: For all that Vinicius Junior burgeoned his case to rank among the best in the world, Karim Benzema cut a subdued figure. That may in no small part have been due to the imperious Ruben Dias, who was his customary mix of elegance on the ball and full throttled battling off it. He throws himself in the way of any danger that comes City’s way and might just be able to quell Benzema again.

Underrated X-factor: No one would confuse the Etihad Stadium with one of Europe’s great arenas, particularly on Champions League nights when supporters tend to register their distaste of UEFA in the loudest terms. But City certainly feel at ease under the lights and are unbeaten in their last 25 European home games, the most by any English club. Indeed the English champions haven’t lost a home knockout game since way back in 2015, when Luis Suarez and the rest of Barcelona put them to the sword.

Biggest reason they’ll win: Picking just one quality that will carry City to victory is a challenge in itself but if you have to trust a team to claim a clean sheet in this competition it is Wednesday’s hosts, who have let in just five goals in 11 matches so far. That isn’t some fluke either, they have only given up 7.8 non-penalty expected goals in the Champions League so far. 

Biggest reason they’ll lose: Until such time as they actually win the Champions League the same cliche will have to apply, that there is something inherent to this particular team that makes them their own worst enemies on the European stage. That City haven’t taken control of the tie in the first leg makes it all the more credible that they could simply lose their cool in the dying stages of the second leg.

Featured Game | Manchester City vs. Real Madrid

Real Madrid

By Chuck Booth

One player to watch: Karim Benzema. Going back to the first leg, while Real Madrid had their chances, one of the key takeaways was that Benzema barely got a touch of the ball. Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior got their chances out wide but for Real to be at their best, there has to be a central threat as well. Benzema can move a defense even when he isn’t at his best because defenses know what he can do with the ball at his feet but Real will need at least a goal or an assist from the Frenchman if they want to get past Manchester City at home.

Underrated X-factor: Luka Modric. While we can’t call Modric underrated at this stage of things, once you become a Galactico that term doesn’t particularly matter. But, if there’s one player who on their day can make this match a Real Madrid route, it’s Modric. Everywhere on the pitch keeping possession moving and creating chances a vintage Modric game can change the tie for Los Blancos even if Benzema doesn’t get space to work in attack.

Biggest reason they’ll win: Composure. Real Madrid are a team that has been in this place time and time again. Coming from behind to move forward in Champions League? They’ve done that. Winning away from home as underdogs? They’ve done that too. Real has experience that will prevent this game from going sideways unless City puts up multiple goals early in the tie.

Biggest reason they’ll lose: Defensive frailty. While Madrid had no issues creating chances against City, early in the first leg they were overpowered by City’s attack. Allowing that to happen with City at home, even if for a second can put the team in a deficit that can’t be overturned. This is also why Camavinga’s health will be critical because the team defense is much better with him in the lineup.

Prediction

By James Benge

Madrid have proven themselves to be a good match for City but ultimately Pep Guardiola’s side might just have the greater quality, particularly off the bench, to swing this tie in their direction with a 2-1 win.





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