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Champions League: Manchester United cannot take Sevilla lightly; Roma face uphill task vs Shakhtar

By Prashanth Kumar
Manchester United

Bengaluru, March 13: After a brilliant win against Liverpool on Saturday, Manchester United must be high on confidence to get into the quarter final stage of the Champions League. The last time they reached this stage was in 2014. Hence it will be a welcome sight for United fans to be watching their team play in the business end of Europe's premier competition. Their goalless draw in Sevilla (once again thanks to David De Gea) gives them home advantage but leaves them vulnerable to away goals.

Though United's physicality and home advantage should see them through, taking Sevilla lightly at this stage of the competition would be extremely callous. Not scoring an away goal could prove costly to United and Sevilla's comeback against Liverpool in both the group-stage matches should guard them against complacency.

Manchester United vs Sevilla, Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Kick off at 1.15 am (IST)

Live on Sony TEN 2

Best goalkeeper

Best goalkeeper

However, with one of the best goalkeepers in the world, a solid defense and a coach with a defensive mentality, we can be assured that Sevilla might find it hard to sneak in an away goal.

David De Gea has been in scintillating form for quite a while and one can expect the world class saves from point blank range if the defense falters.

Defensive ploy

Defensive ploy

With Manchester United poised to play defensively and Sevilla being an attacking team, one could expect repeat tactics from the match against Liverpool, long balls.

Both goals against Liverpool were created by a boot up the field reaching Romelu Lukaku. Sevilla's Gabriel Mercado, Clement Lenglet or Simon Kjaer can expect a tough night trying to contain the big Belgian.

Rashford threat

Rashford threat

Once the long balls are launched, it is highly important to win the second balls to create chances. Sevilla's full backs will have a task on their hands trying to prevent Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sanchez from winning second balls.

Given the two goals that Rashford scored this Saturday and with a spot in the England team for the World up for grabs, trying to bet on him scoring a goal or influencing the game wouldn't be foolish.

Pogba's absence

Pogba's absence

Scott McTominay and Nemajna Matic have been brilliant for United and they have helped soften the blow of Paul Pogba being unavailable for a while.

Pogba mostly wont feature as he only had a light training session a few days back.

In the other match of the day, Roma will host Shakhtar Donetsk in the Italian capital.
Shakhtar lead 2-1, thanks to goals by Cengiz Under and Fred. Facunda Ferreyra struck for Eusebio Di Francesco's Roma in the away leg in Ukraine.

Although Roma failed to capitalise on their lead in Kharkiv, Ukraine, they are back to playing their best after scoring victories over Napoli and Torino. Star forward Edin Dzeko too is back among the goals for Serie A's second-placed side.

"We want to advance and we won't do that by playing just one half of football. I hope all the alternating between good and bad performances can level out now because this is a game we can't mess up. I want to see continuity from my team. Even if we go ahead, I want us to keep our shape and balance. We made some mistakes, not just individually but as a team, in the first leg and we can't afford to do that again," Roma coach Di Francesco was quoted as saying by

Shakhtar, meanwhile, will take solace over the fact that they have recorded four wins out of five against Roma in the competition. Coached by Paulo Fonseca, Shakhtar are hoping to reach the UCL quarter-finals for the first time since 2011. Incidentally, they beat Roma 6-2 on aggregate in the Round of 16 back then.

"It's going to be a very difficult game. Roma won a group that included Chelsea and Atlético Madrid so they are tough to face, and they've won five out of six games recently. They're going to try to put us under pressure from the start. We're going to have to be very strong at the back to withstand that. My team is in great shape, mentally and physically," Fonseca told reporters on the eve of the match.

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    Story first published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 14:09 [IST]
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