Let’s do cliches. The men have been separated from the boys.
On Friday, the eight clubs adjudged to be the best left in the UEFA Champions League, were drawn against each other.
Here are the four tasty ties and my predictions:
Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona
Barcelona. I don’t think PSG were supremely commanding in the two legs over Chelsea. Jose Mourinho just employed the wrong tactics and systems, especially at Stamford Bridge, where the Ligue champions were right on the slaughter tab. Lionel Messi is beginning to hit that sort of form that inspires, intimidates and impact matches. And we were treated to a glimpse, as the Nou Camp giants beat Manchester City on Wednesday.
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid
This will be a close one. Atletico seems to have gotten the better of their city rivals in recent games, but derbies are not predictable affairs. Real have not been the sparkling force they were, in the first half of the season, but no matter how out of form BBC – Bale, Benzema and Cristiano – are, you cannot write them out. Luka Modric is back, to add a different dimension to their midfield with his grace and guile. I stick my neck out for Real.
Porto v Bayern Munich
Of course, Bayern Munich will beat FC Porto over two legs and qualify for the semi-finals. The Portuguese side were lucky to land a dreadful Basel side in the previous round and they strolled through the second leg. But Pep Guardiola and his men are a different kettle of fish altogether. The Spaniard is out to prove a point in this season’s competition, after the humiliating way Real Madrid threw them out last time and so far, he is not doing a shabby job.
Juventus v Monaco
Possibly one of the less fancied fixture in this round, but don’t get it twisted, a place in the final four awaits the winner. I was impressed with how Juventus tore Borussia Dortmund apart at the Signal Iduna, inspired by an energetic Carlos Tevez. They will be without Paul Pogba for these games, but I think they will have enough to match Monaco, who barely got here after a 2-0 loss at Stade Louis II to Arsenal.
‘Ifreke Inyang tweets via @Ifreke
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