If he continues to shine like the first leg, Lionel Messi can help PSG surpass Man City to win the first ticket in Group A Champions League tonight 24/11.

*Man City – PSG: 3am on Thursday, November 25, Hanoi time.

Man City is holding the advantage of more than one point and is playing at home Etihad. Pep Guardiola’s teachers and students only need a draw to ensure a place in the 1/8 round one round early. A win even guarantees them first place in the table. And PSG must win if they want to win tickets. Otherwise, they have to fight to the death with Club Brugge in the last round, in case the Belgian team defeats RB Leipzig in this match.

Messi opened his mouth in a new team shirt when PSG defeated Man City 2-0 in the first leg. Photo: AFP.

It can be compared to a battle between the stars, based on the lineup the two teams own. But its appeal doesn’t just come from the players. Man City and PSG both have achieved high performance in the domestic league and have talented coaches. Mauricio Pochettino and Guardiola have faced each other many times, and the victory is in favor of the Man City coach. That is understandable because Guardiola often holds the stronger team in the previous encounters. But when possessing good players, Pochettino is not easy to be defeated, and as evidenced by a 2-0 victory in the first leg.

“We are looking for a way to make Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe feel comfortable playing together,” Pochettino said. “I also need the team to understand when to increase the tempo and coordinate in a tight space. Sometimes, PSG also need to open up and slow down. It is not an easy task but we enjoyed the challenge. This is a great time for me to have the opportunity to work with great players.”

The first leg saw Messi’s first goal for PSG. It was the moment of genius of the Argentine striker when he made goalkeeper Ederson bury his feet by cutting his heart into the high corner. Messi has scored 27 goals in 35 times against English Premier League clubs, including seven goals against Man City. In five times against teams led by his old teacher Guardiola, Messi scored seven goals.

“It is very difficult to predict what Messi will do,” commented Guardiola. “Sometimes he doesn’t even know what he’s going to do when he has the ball so how do you know. There are players you can predict whether they will move left or right. With Messi, he himself doesn’t. knows exactly what to do when he has the ball. The same thing happens with Neymar, Mbappe or Angel Di Maria. PSG has a very unpredictable attack.”

Sergio Ramos will probably play his first game for PSG since moving to this summer.  Photo: Reuters

Sergio Ramos will probably play his first game for PSG since moving to this summer. Photo: Reuters

PSG have to change their face away from home in recent matches if they want to get good results. They won one, drew two and lost one in the last four away from home. PSG have not won their last three away matches in the Champions League. If that happens again, it will be the first time the Paris side have not won any away matches in the Champions League group stage since the 2004-2005 season.

Pochettino understands how difficult it is to get three points at the Etihad right now. Man City is on a nine-match winning streak at home in the Champions League. The last defeat of Guardiola’s teachers and students at Etihad took place on September 20, 2018 when they lost 1-2 to Lyon last season. In addition, before losing in the first leg, Man City were unbeaten in five encounters with PSG (three wins, two draws), including two wins at home with a score of 1-0 in April 2016 and 2 -0 in May 2021.

Man City do not have Kevin De Bruyne because the midfielder is positive for nCoV, but Jack Grealish can return after sitting out in the 3-0 win over Everton. On the PSG side, Sergio Ramos is eager to make his debut. The former Real midfielder was named in the list of 23 players attending this match after a long time of convalescence. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe were absent from the 3-1 win over Nantes but are all available to return.

Quang Huy

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