Our event of the day is the second leg Quarter-final clash in the UEFA Champions League between Barcelona and Manchester United at Camp Nou. After a forgettable first leg, Barcelona are taking a one goal lead back to Catalonia and crucially have the advantage of netting an away goal. As a result, United know they will have to now win at Camp Nou which no other side has done in the Champions League since Bayern Munich achieved the feat on 1st May 2013. Ernesto Valverde rung the changes at the weekend as his side took on bottom-placed Huesca. Even though they could only muster a draw in that game, Barca still remain nine points clear at the summit of La Liga and Valverde’s thoughts will now turn firmly back to their European exploits as they prepare to welcome one of the continent’s most successful sides in Manchester United. Recent form in the Champions League dictates that Barca tend to fall at the Quarter-final hurdle, having been eliminated at this stage of the competition in each of the last three editions.
However, after securing a 1-0 lead in the first leg, they will be the overwhelming favourites to go one step further this time round. Having already notched eight times in the competition already, Lionel Messi will hope to add to his tally tonight as he looks to secure his fourth European golden boot. Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be well aware of just how dauting the task at hand is, but after summoning the spirit of 1999 in the last round against PSG, the Norwegian will be hoping for a similar outcome in Barcelona tonight. However, his men will have to offer much more than they did in the first leg after failing to register a single shot on target in front of the Old Trafford faithful. Paul Pogba’s impressive run of form will surely be in the forefront of Solskjaer’s mind and the Frenchman could yet prove the decisive player in the outcome of this tie. After scoring both of his side’s goals in their 2-1 win over West Ham at the weekend, Pogba will be relishing the opportunity to add to his European tally in one of the continent’s most daunting sporting cauldrons. It should be a thrilling night of European rugby.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the NBA where the Denver Nuggets host the San Antonio Spurs in game 2 of their playoff series. The Nuggets were formidable at the Pepsi Center during the regular season which made their loss in game 1 all the more surprising and they’ll be desperate to find parity in the series with a win in tonight’s affair. Elsewhere, there is a relegation six-pointer at the foot of the Premier League as Brighton and Hove Albion welcome fellow strugglers Cardiff City to the Amex Stadium. In the tennis, world number 1 Novak Djokovic is in action today as he takes on German Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. There is also plenty of baseball to watch out for as the MLB season continues, with the New York Yankees’ and Boston Red Sox’s clash headlining the action. Finally, after their surprise loss in OT last time out, the Calgary Flames will look to get their noses back in front against the Colorado Avalanche as the two NHL outfits battle it out for a place in the second round.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Barcelona FC; Manchester United
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