Barcelona FC will be looking to lock up a berth in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2015 when they take on Manchester United on Tuesday in the second leg of their current quarter-final clash as -286 favorites on the Champions League odds at sports books monitored by OddsShark.com.
Barca claimed a 1-0 victory in last week’s first-leg action in Manchester, and now rides an eight-match win streak across all competitions into Tuesday’s match-up at Camp Nou.
The reigning La Liga champions have been dominant since the calendar turned to 2019, falling to defeat in just three of 25 matches in all competitions since New Year’s Day, including a 9-2-1 win-draw-loss record in 12 home dates during that stretch.
Barca claimed a 1-0 victory in last week’s first-leg action in Manchester, and now rides an eight-match win streak across all competitions into Tuesday’s match-up at Camp Nou. Photo:UGC Source: UGC
Goal production has emerged as an issue, with an own goal by the Red Devils in Barca’s victory last week as +100 road chalk representing the club’s only marker over their past two outings.
However, the club’s recent dry spell has not dampened their position on the Champions League futures, where they are +250 favorites to claim their first title in four years.
Manchester United faces a stiffer challenge as they enter second leg action pegged as +598 underdogs at online betting sites.
The Red Devils are coming off a 2-1 victory over West Ham United in last weekend’s Premier League action, marking just their second victory in six matches across all competitions.
The Red Devils have particularly struggled on the road, dropping three straight, ending an impressive nine-match win streak away from Old Trafford.
In addition, the club has not reached the UCL semi-final since 2011, when they fell to Barca in the final, and lead only FC Porto as a +4000 wager on the odds to win this season’s Champions League title.
Elsewhere on the Tuesday Champions League odds, Juventus FC looks to snap a two-match winless slide as they host AFC Ajax as -155 chalk.
Juve was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Ajax as a +130 road favorite in first-leg action, and followed up with a stunning 2-1 loss to SPAL in a Serie A matchup on Saturday.
However, the club has been dominant at home, going 12-1-0 in their past 13, and sit a close second to Barca at +350 on the odds to win the Champions League.
Ajax followed up their hard-fought draw with Juve with a 6-2 rout of Excelsior in Eredivisie play, and have outscored opponents by a 21-6 margin during a 5-0-1 run on the road, but trail at +3300 on the UCL futures.
Paris St-Germain missed the chance to win the Ligue 1 title at the third attempt as they lost 3-2 to Nantes on Wednesday night.
Thomas Tuchel’s side drew 2-2 with Strasbourg and lost 5-1 to Lille in their last two games when they could have clinched the title.
Dani Alves’ stunning long-range strike gave PSG the lead in the 19th minute. But Diego Carlos struck twice, either side of Majeed Waris’ goal, with Metehan Guclu netting a late consolation goal for PSG.
Kalifa Coulibaly could have scored Nantes’ fourth but missed an open goal with Gianluigi Buffon well out of his area.
PSG are still 17 points clear of second-placed Lille with six games remaining and can win their sixth title in seven seasons if they beat Monaco on Sunday.
They can also win the double when they face Rennes in the Coupe de France final on 27 April.
Jurgen Klopp admitted he cannot wait to lead Liverpool into a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona after watching his side crush Porto 4-1 in Portugal on Wednesday to complete a 6-1 aggregate victory in their last-eight tie.
On a wet night at the Estadio do Dragao, Liverpool weathered an early storm against Porto before scoring from their first attempt just before the half-hour, Sadio Mane prodding home for a goal given after a lengthy VAR review.
Already in control of this tie after a 2-0 win at Anfield in the first leg, Liverpool had effectively killed off Porto there and then, but Mohamed Salah, substitute Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk added further goals after the break.
Eder Militao scored a consolation for the hosts 21 minutes from time, but this was another miserable night for them after they lost 5-0 to the same opponents on this ground a year ago.
Liverpool now march on to a clash with Lionel Messi’s Barca, the first meeting of the clubs since a last-16 encounter in 2006/07 that the Reds won on away goals.
“I’m looking forward to it. The news that there is a proper football game between Barcelona and Liverpool is great,” said Klopp as his side move a step closer to matching their run to the final a year ago.
“To be in the semi-finals for the second year running is a big statement. I am really proud of the boys for what they did.”
On the night Manchester City’s quadruple bid died, the dream of a Champions League and Premier League double remains alive for Liverpool and their supporters, whose spirits were not dampened by the dreary weather by the banks of the River Douro.
This was their 17th game without defeat and their eighth straight victory, although Barcelona will offer a far tougher test than Porto.
The first leg of that tie is in a fortnight and in the meantime, Liverpool will revert their focus to domestic matters, with games against Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town up next.
“Tonight we are in the semi-finals and we play on Sunday against Cardiff. That will be 100 per cent on my mind when I wake up tomorrow and not Barcelona,” insisted Klopp.
With the matches coming thick and fast, he made three changes to his team here following Sunday’s 2-0 win over Chelsea. Firmino and Naby Keita, who both scored in the first leg, dropped out along with Jordan Henderson.
They were replaced by Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner and Divock Origi, with the latter making his first Champions League start for the club. However, the Belgian only played the first half before making way for Firmino.
– Early onslaught –
He had hardly touched the ball during a Porto onslaught in the opening stages, sparked by a Jesus Corona shot just over the bar in the first minute.
They had 13 attempts on goal in the first 25 minutes but would regret not scoring while on top.
“There was a very good football atmosphere and they used it and it was so powerful the game of Porto and so difficult to deal with,” Klopp said.
“Porto needed an early goal tonight and didn’t score it. I’m completely happy. It’s only important to go through, and we went through.”
Their opening goal came when Salah — his every touch jeered by the Porto support who felt he should have been sent off in the first leg — rolled the ball into the six-yard area for Mane to get his 22nd of the campaign.
The offside flag came up but Dutch referee Danny Makkelie conferred with his video assistants before awarding the goal.
Porto knew their chance was gone, with their fans cursing Mane again — he scored a hat-trick in Liverpool’s win here in the last 16 last season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold released Salah to run through and beat Iker Casillas on 65 minutes to make it 2-0 before Porto got their consolation shortly after when Militao headed in from an Alex Telles corner.
However, Mane missed the target after rounding Casillas, before Henderson set up fellow substitute Firmino to head in Liverpool’s third on 77 minutes and Van Dijk nodded in from a corner to complete the scoring.
“Like at Anfield, it was a harsh result for how we played,” said Porto coach Sergio Conceicao.
“If we had been more clinical, everything would have been different.”