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Preview: Madrid, Juventus Hope To Avoid Champions League Exit Shocks Against Man City, Lyon 

Preview: Madrid, Juventus Hope To Avoid Champions League Exit Shocks Against Man City, Lyon 

Real Madrid will be looking to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit when they take on Manchester City for the second leg of their last-16 Champions League contest at the Etihad stadium on Friday night.

City recorded a shock victory when both teams met at the Bernabeu back in February, meaning that Madrid have plenty to do if they are to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition once again.

City ended their Premier League season with a 5-0 win over Norwich City, which saw them finish on 81 points, 18 behind champions Liverpool in the Premier League table. They have been full of goals since returning to the field in June but have also lost to Chelsea, Southampton and Arsenal.

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The Citizens were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals of last season’s competition, while they have only won one of their five two-legged knockout ties against Spanish opposition, losing each of their last four, which will be a concern as they prepare to welcome Madrid.

City’s last home game against a Spanish club saw them lose 3-1 to Barcelona in the group stages of the 2016-17 competition, although they have won four and lost just two of their nine previous home matches against teams from Spain.

For Madrid, their stunning form post-lockdown saw them wrestle the La Liga title away from Barcelona. 

Los Blancos actually won 10 straight games in the league before ending their domestic campaign with a 2-2 draw at Leganes on July 19.

Zinedine Zidane’s side have had longer than City to prepare for this match; in fact, the English side have played twice in the Premier League since Madrid last took to the field, although it remains to be seen whether that helps or hinders either club on Friday night.

Last season was actually the first time since 2009-10 that Madrid failed to reach at least the semi-finals of the competition as they bowed out to Ajax in the round of 16.

Madrid have won their last seven away matches in the round of 16, though, while they have been victorious in 16 of their last 25 European away fixtures, suffering just five defeats, which is a brilliant record at this level.

The Spanish outfit have also won eight of their 12 two-legged knockout ties against English clubs in European competition, notably overcoming City in the semi-finals back in 2016 courtesy of a 1-0 success.

City will again be without Sergio Aguero due to a knee injury, while Benjamin Mendy is suspended due to the yellow card that he picked up in the first leg in the Spanish capital.

On their part inspirational captain Ramos will miss out for Madrid through suspension due to the red card that the Spaniard picked up the first leg at the Bernabeu. As a result, Eder Militao could join Raphael Varane in central defence, while Ferland Mendy should get the nod over Marcelo at left-back.

And also on Friday, Juventus will be aiming to overturn a 1-0 deficit when they welcome Lyon to Turin for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash on Friday.

Juventus recently celebrated their ninth-straight Serie A title, but endured a woeful end to the campaign as they suffered three defeats from their last four games, including a 3-1 home defeat to Roma on the final day.

Meanwhile, Lyon recently made their return to competitive action as they faced PSG in the Coupe de la Ligue final, eventually losing to the Ligue 1 champions on penalties.

Following the curtailment of the 2019-20 French top flight, Lyon have enjoyed friendly victories over Nice, Celtic and Gent in July, but Rudi Garcia’s side did suffer a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Rangers as well.

Lyon have not progressed further than the last-16 stage since the 2009-10 season, where they lost to eventual runners-up Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, who was recently voted Serie A’s Most Valuable Player for the 2019-20 season, will be hopeful of shaking off a thigh complaint in time to lead the line for the Old Lady.

Sarri will still be without the services of Mattia De Sciglio, and Douglas Costa has also been ruled out through the thigh injury he picked up against Udinese.

For Lyon, left-back Youssouf Kone remains on the treatment table, while first-leg hero Lucas Tousart has now joined up with his teammates at Hertha Berlin.

Marcelo and Kenny Tete are both doubts for Garcia’s men, but Memphis Depay is expected to feature after missing the first leg through injury.

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