Saint-Germain, Newcastle and Milan are in a three-way battle to reach the last 16.
After Germany’s Borussia Dortmund secured the first card, the three-way battle for the second place in Group Six will be fierce in the final round of the group stage between France’s Paris Saint-Germain, England’s Newcastle United and Italy’s AC Milan (Wednesday). European Champions League.
Saint-Germain lead the table with 7 points, Dortmund with 10 points and Newcastle host Milan with 5 points each. Saint-Germain faces the risk of relegation from the group stage for the first time since its ownership by a Qatari investment firm in 2011, and only a win would save the team and guarantee a round of 16 tie with Dortmund. Regardless of the result of the second match, it will give them the top spot in the points table and thus avoid facing a strong team in the next round.
Spaniard Luis Enrique, coach of Saint-Germain, summed up his team’s situation: “The most important thing is to focus on ourselves… If we win, we will finish the group stage in first place, but if we lose, we can qualify for the next round.” “Things are very complicated, but I hope to make things easier with a win.”
Saint-Germain will qualify if the Newcastle-Milan match ends in a draw if they draw, Newcastle do not beat Milan or they lose.
Having reached the final of the continental competition once and losing to German Bayern Munich in 2020, the French capital side started strongly, notably beating Dortmund 2-0, but fell 1-4 to Newcastle in the next round and then beat Milan. Before 3-0…lost 1-2 to Newcastle and then drew 1-1 with Newcastle.
St-Germain’s quarter-final exits in the last two seasons saw the sacking of coaches Argentina’s Mauricio Pochettino and Frenchman Christophe Caltier respectively, and Enrique could face the same fate if he leaves early.
Ever since Qatar Sports Investments took over ownership, the Gulf nation’s officials have set their sights on winning the prestigious European title, despite signing top players like Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Brazil’s Neymar. With the most important coaches like Frenchman Kylian Mbappe and Italian Carlo Ancelotti and German…Thomas Tuchel, the club failed to win the continental title.
In recent years, they have also suffered heavy defeats, most notably the remontada against Barcelona in 2017, and in 2019 a 1-3 loss to Manchester United in England after leading 2-0 in the first leg. Losing to Real Madrid in 2020 and 2022.
Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, on the other hand, confirmed that his team will not be satisfied even with qualification guaranteed, adding: “We want to finish first and avoid very strong teams.” “We don’t want to get out of the quarter-finals.”
It’s no longer a secret that Real Madrid are keen on Mbappe’s services, but Saint-Germain have at least so far succeeded in protecting their jewel after disagreements last summer and the striker not renewing his contract. He was left out of the team’s tour of Japan and the first team for the tournament. The pre-season training sessions and then the first match were settled between the two sides.
Mbappe has hit hard this season, scoring 15 goals in the French league and leading the scorers’ charts in addition to 3 goals in the Champions League.
An early exit from Saint-Germain will no doubt force Mbappe to seriously consider his future in the coming months, especially as his desire is to seek European glory, which is beyond his reach at his current club.
Newcastle and Milan are likely to reach the next round, but it depends on one of them winning and St-Germain falling or at least drawing with Dortmund. Newcastle won 4–1 in the first leg against English side Saint-Germain before drawing 1–1 at Prince’s Park Stadium in the last round.
As for Milan, who are second in the list of the most successful teams in the competition with 7 titles, their confidence has been renewed after their recent win against Saint-Germain, but they face Newcastle in a tough final.
Newcastle’s chances of winning look strong, despite their shocking results domestically, backed by playing at home and among their fans, most recently falling 1-4 to Tottenham on Sunday. Striker Callum Wilson’s return to Newcastle will be a boost to coach Eddie Howe’s squad, which has been hit by a number of injuries, notably missing Jacob Murphy, Nick Pope, Harvey Barnes, Joe Willock, Dan Byrne and Sven Boatman, while Italian Sandro is out through suspension. So the return of Wilson and Sean Longstaff as substitutes against Tottenham shows some light at the end of the worrying tunnel for Newcastle.
On the other hand, Portuguese Rafael Leo returned to Milan against Newcastle after the dangerous winger missed most of his side’s matches last November with a thigh injury. Milan will look to repeat their magical display against Paris Saint-Germain, which kicked off at St James’ Park on the 7th of last month when the Lombard side won 2-1.
Leo (24 years old) has not had the best seasons as his performance has been inconsistent as he has scored 4 goals and 4 other goals in 16 matches with Milan in various competitions, but he has been able to turn the competition around for his team. Help him when he is well.
Milan need the best form Leo showed against Newcastle against St-Germain. After his last goal against Saint-Germain, Leo responded to criticism of his position by his fans: “Criticism makes me do more. I will respond on the field, keep talking.”
For his part, Frenchman Yassin Attlee, the Milan player, acknowledged the difficulty of his team’s task and hinted that the chances of qualifying were 2 or 3 percent. If Milan lose to Newcastle, they will be eliminated from all continental competition if they finish fourth.
Milan have been hit by a slump in results after a 2-3 loss to Atalanta at the last minute in the Italian league on Saturday widened the gap with their neighbors Inter to 9 points, sparking public outrage. Coach Stefano Pioli, backed by the club’s management, should be sacked. Milan have won just three of their last 10 matches since returning from the international break last October.
In Group E, Spain’s Atletico Madrid will meet their Italian hosts Lazio, while Scottish club Celtic will play their Dutch hosts Feyenoord Rotterdam. After Atletico and Lazio qualified for the round of 16 in the competition, the competition between them is limited to the top spot in the group, with the Spanish capital currently leading with 11 points. A close rival, the Italian capital team.
A draw at their home ground (Metropolitano) in Madrid is enough for Atlético to finish their campaign top of the group, while Lazio need to win and meet one of the leading clubs. Second place among seven other groups in the round of 16.
Matters regarding the third place finisher in the group seem settled, with Feyenoord deciding in their favour, they currently have 6 points, while Celtic are bottom of the table with a point, making the Dutch side officially on their way to the Europa League. .
In Group Seven, England’s Manchester City will meet their hosts Red Star Belgrade of Serbia, while Germany’s Leipzig will meet their guests Switzerland’s Young Boys.
Things were completely settled in the group as Manchester City (reigning champions) took the lead, winning all their matches in the group to go top with 15 points and a perfect score so far. Leipzig officially decided to stay in second place with 9 points, while Young Boys are officially third with 4 points, while Red Star, who won the title in 1991, is at the bottom of the table with one point. .
If Young Boys lose to Leipzig, and Red Star beat Manchester City, the Swiss and Serbian teams will be level on 4 points, but head-to-head clashes will favor Young Boys, who drew 2-2 with Red Star. Leg, before beating them 2-2, nil in their second clash.
In Group Eight, all eyes will be on Spain’s Barcelona, who won their first card, and Portugal’s Porto, who are fighting for the second card, and their hosts, Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine.
Barcelona, who have won 5 titles in the competition, have officially qualified for the Round of 16 by topping the group stages with 12 points, 3 points ahead of second and third placed Porto and Shakhtar respectively. In the final round, they face Belgium’s Antwerp, who are at the bottom of the table with no points.
Barcelona will be looking to heal their local wounds after a painful 4-2 loss to hosts Girona in their last game in the Spanish league on Sunday. ft.
The clash between Porto and Shakhtar, who won the Championship Cup in 1987 and 2004, will be heated, and a draw will be enough for the former to finish second as they are level with Shakhtar (10 points) and outright better. The Clashes had earlier beaten the Ukrainian side 3-1 in the first leg. As for Shakhtar, they need to win to clinch a ticket to the round of 16 and have shown strong awareness with wins in the last two rounds against Barcelona and Antwerp.
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