Seven ties could still go either way

Bernarddo Silva and Raheem Sterling celebrate for City

With the first legs in the round of 16 in the Champions League now all completed, it’s fair to say only one tie looks to be settled with Manchester City surely already assured of their quarter-final place.

Of the seven other ties, four are finely poised after draws in the first games, while Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Chelsea all have leads that they hope will stand them in good stead but, equally, could yet be squandered in the second legs as the battle for Europe’s top club prize intensifies.

Let’s deal with City first. The 9/4 Champions League outright favourites hammered Sporting (150/1 to qualify) 5-0, helped by a brace from Bernardo Silva and a goal from Raheem Sterling (pictured) to render the return game at the Etihad fairly meaningless.

However, elsewhere, there’s plenty left to play for. Of the other three Premier League teams, both Liverpool and Chelsea look to have one foot in the last eight after recording 2-0 first leg wins over Inter and Lille respectively.

Liverpool’s 2-0 success at the San Siro was particularly impressive and it would now be a major surprise if Jurgen Klopp’s side (1/100 to qualify) do not make it through, although they will be wary of an Inter side (16/1) who for large parts of the game in Milan were on the front foot and created several good chances only to be repelled by the Reds.

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Reigning champions Chelsea (7/1 – Champions League Outright) are away for their second leg in France but should have more than enough to get the job done as they face the Ligue 1 champions who, in truth, are a side struggling this season as they sit way off the pace domestically, down in 11th place.

The remaining ties should all be tasty second legs. PSG versus Real Madrid always looked like the tie of the round and Les Parisien’s 1-0 first-leg win, courtesy of Kylian Mbappe’s brilliant late strike, means that game is set up perfectly for the return at the Bernabeu. Real, who are 9/4 to recover and qualify, were perhaps fortunate to only lose 1-0 as PSG (1/3 to qualify) missed a penalty and plenty of other chances, but expect Real to roar back on home turf.

Manchester United salvaged a draw in their first leg when Anthony Elanga’s equaliser earned them a creditable 1-1 result at Atletico Madrid. It’s a scoreline not to be sniffed at against the Champions League veterans and one that could just mean United, in front of a raucous Old Trafford crowd, will summon up the goal or goals needed to see them through in the return game (Match Betting – Man Utd 21/20, draw 12/5, Atletico 3/1).

Bayern Munich, meanwhile, were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw by RB Salzburg in the first leg in Austria but, back at the Allianz Arena, the Bavarian giants (9/2 CL Outright) will be overwhelming favourites to progress through, while Juventus (22/1 – Outright), too, will expect to see off Villarreal when they go head-to-head in Turin for their second leg after Wednesday’s tie also finished 1-1.

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