Champions League predictions: joy for Juventus and Ronaldo, misery for Real Madrid and relief for Barcelona

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - We take out our crystal ball as Europe's premier club competition returns to action with the last-16 second legs

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16 PREDICTIONS: (All kick-offs 11pm UAE time) Friday; Juventus v Lyon, (first-leg 0-1) - It is for exactly this sort of night that Juventus forked out €112 million (Dh482m) for a then 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018. They may have just secured a ninth successive Serie A title, but it is the Champions League trophy the Italians would dearly love to lift. A goal down from the first leg in France, when manager Maurizio Sarri was left struggling to explain why his team failed to perform, Juve need their talismanic Portuguese attacker firing on all cylinders in Turin. Lyon, meanwhile, have just lost the French League Cup final to PSG and are short of competitive action after Ligue 1 was abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic with 10 games still left to play. Prediction: Juventus 3 Lyon 1. Juve through 3-2 on aggregate. Reuters

Manchester City v Real Madrid (first-leg 2-1) - A huge game for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. The Spaniard may have swept the board when it comes to domestic trophies since he took over at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, but he has fallen short when it comes to European club football's premier competition. In fact, a Guardiola team has not won the Champions League since Barcelona's triumph way back in 2011. City find themselves in a fantastic position to reach the last eight this time round after an impressive 2-1 win in Madrid but come up against a Real team fresh from securing La Liga. Zinedine Zidane's side also seemed to have found the knack of grinding out tight victories while City's defensive frailties have been clear all season, so this will be a big test for the English club. Prediction: City 2 Real Madrid 2. City through 4-3 on aggregate. EPA

Saturday; Barcelona v Napoli (first-leg 1-1) - Beaten by arch-rivals Real Madrid to La Liga title, star turn Lionel Messi unusually vocal in his criticism of the club, and manager Quique Setien seemingly hanging on to his job by a thread ... all is not well in Barca's world just now. Their away draw in Naples puts them firmly in the driving seat here but crash and burn at Camp Nou and Setien can head straight home, pack his bags and begin hunting for a new job. Napoli finished a disappointing seventh in Serie A - with Gennaro Gattuso admitting before their final game of the season that his team are lacking "a bit of soul" but also insisting "it will be a different story" against Barcelona. Prediction: Barcelona 2 Napoli 1. Barca win 3-2 on aggregate. EPA

Bayern Munich v Chelsea (first-leg 3-0). The writing is very much on the wall for the Premier League club here. Frank Lampard admitted after the game in London that his team had been "outclassed ... in pretty much every department" and had been left with what looks like an unassailable mountain to climb. Since that victory in February, Bayern have secured a second successive domestic double - and an eighth straight Bundesliga title - while prolific striker Robert Lewandowski has passed the 50-goal mark. Chelsea have secured their place in next season's Champions League by finishing in the top four in England but suffered a damaging FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal last weekend when Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta picked up injuries that have ruled them out against the Bavarians. Prediction: Bayern Munich 4 Chelsea 0. Bayern win 7-0 on aggregate. EPA

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Gareth Cox

Aug 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

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With the domestic leagues having finally reached their conclusions after the coronavirus enforced lockdowns, it is now time to switch our attentions to European competition.

The first-legs of these last-16 ties took place way back in February, so it has certainly been a lengthy wait to get them completed.

First up on Friday are Juventus against Lyon, where the French club hold a 1-0 advantage from the first-leg, and Manchester City's clash with Real Madrid, with the English team having secured a 2-1 win in Spain. The winners of those ties will then face each other in the quarter-finals next Saturday.

This Saturday, Barcelona face Napoli with the tie on a knife-edge at 1-1, and Bayern Munich take a 3-0 lead into their second-leg at home to Chelsea. The two winning teams will then face-off for a place in the semi-finals next Friday.

Atalanta against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig versus Atletico Madrid make up the other quarter-final ties that are due to kick-off next Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

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Updated: August 6, 2020 07:12 AM

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