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Man United Pin Their Hopes On Ronaldo As They Host Atletico Madrid

Man United Pin Their Hopes On Ronaldo As They Host Atletico Madrid

Manchester United will be banking on Cristiano Ronaldo as they look to book their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League when they welcome Atletico Madrid to Old Trafford for the second leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday night.

The contest is delicately poised at 1-1 following the first leg at Wanda Metropolitano, with Anthony Elanga coming off the bench to register for Man United after Joao Felix had sent Atletico ahead.

Man United were far from their best in the first leg on February 23, with Atletico in charge of the contest for long spells, but Elanga came off the bench to score a leveller in the 80th minute, meaning that any win for the Red Devils on Tuesday evening would see them advance to the final eight of the European Cup.

Confidence would have been low had Man United entered the second leg off the back of their 4-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend, but Ralf Rangnick’s side were back in league action against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, recording a 3-2 win over the North London club to boost their top-four hopes.

Ronaldo returned from injury to score a brilliant hat-trick against Spurs, and the Portugal international will now be determined to enjoy more success against Atletico, having netted 25 times against the Red and Whites during his professional career, making them his favourite opposition.

The old adage goes that a week is a long time in football and so it proved yet again for the Portuguese great.

Speculation swirled at Man United last week Ronaldo was unhappy about being a substitute amid his flight home – without Rangnick’s knowledge – prior to their defeat at Man City.

But fast forward seven days and he reminded those also claiming his abilities as a 37-year-old player were on the wane he is still very much United’s best hope of securing Champions League football next season.

His three goals in the victory against Tottenham had it all, a wonder strike from 30 yards, being on the end to tap home a Jadon Sancho cross before rising highest from a corner to demonstrate his well-documented aerial strengths.

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The strikes not only took his tally into double figures for league goals this season but also saw him become the leading goalscorer in FIFA history with 807 goals.

Although CR7 isn’t having the season of his life, he’s still been able to put on some decent numbers. For instance, he’s Man United’s top-scorer in the Champions League with six goals to his name so far. Actually, he’s the only player in this squad who’s scored more than one goal in the 2021-22 season.

For Ronaldo, Champions League might be his favourite competition. He is the player with the most Champions League finals, as well as the guy who’s scored more UCL goals than anyone else. That said, you can be sure he’s going to be extremely motivated on Tuesday, and the same goes for his teammates as well.

The veteran has proven the scourge of the Spanish side on numerous occasions down the years and will be buoyed by Saturday’s superb treble.

RECENT UCL RECORD/FORM GUIDE

Man United, who finished top of Group F to advance to this stage, collecting 11 points from their six matches, beat Paris Saint-Germain at this stage of the 2018-19 competition, but they failed to make it through the group stage last term, ultimately dropping into the Europa League, reaching the final before losing to Villarreal.

The 20-time English champions have won seven of their previous 11 round-of-16 ties, but this will be their first meeting with Atletico in England since November 1991, when the two sides played out a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their second-round contest in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

Atletico, meanwhile, will enter Tuesday’s contest off the back of a 2-1 victory over Cadiz in La Liga on Friday, meaning that the capital giants have now been victorious in their last four league matches, which has left them inside the top four at a key stage of the campaign.

Diego Simeone’s side have triumphed in four of their last five games in all competitions, but they are not in a title race this season, so their only chance of securing silverware this season is in the Champions League.

Atletico were far from convincing in the group stage of this season’s European Cup, winning just two of their six matches, but a total of seven points saw them finish second in the section, and they were impressive for long spells of the first leg against Man United last month.

The Madrid giants lost to Chelsea in last season’s round of 16, but they have reached the quarter-finals or better in five of their last eight Champions League campaigns under Simeone, so it would be fair to say that the club know what it takes to operate in the latter stages of the competition.

Atletico have been victorious in five of their previous eight round-of-16 ties, while they have actually won nine of their 12 two-legged knockout contests with English opposition, but the club lost twice against Liverpool in the group stage of this season’s Champions League.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Manchester United and Atletico Madrid have met thrice till date. Atletico Madrid have won once while two games have ended in a draw. The last time the two sides locked horns was three weeks ago in the first leg which ended 1-1.

PREDICTION

This has all of the makings of a fascinating second leg at Old Trafford, and we are expecting a match with plenty of twists and turns. Atletico will fancy their chances of scoring in Manchester, but just as SportsBettingDime.com stated, we just have a feeling that the home side will do enough to win it in 90 minutes, progressing to the quarter-finals of the competition courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate success.

SCORES: Manchester United 2-1 Atletico Madrid


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