Messi and Ronaldo to take centre stage

The Champions League quarter-finals return on Tuesday with both Barcelona and Juventus tipped to make the most of their home advantage for the second leg.


An own goal from Luke Shaw gave Barcelona a 1-0 win against Manchester United, while Cristiano Ronaldo helped Juventus earn a 1-1 draw against an impressive Ajax side.


European journey set to end for the Red Devils


After a first leg that was mostly a cagey affair, Barcelona will be delighted to be taking a 1-0 lead to the Nou Camp against Manchester United.


The Red Devils failed to register a single shot on target for the first time in a Champions League game since March 2005, and with Barcelona unbeaten in their last 30 home games in the competition, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need another miracle to see his side progress.


United have shown in this season’s competition that they are a side who are far more suited to playing away from home, with the pace of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial on the counter-attack.


Nine of their 10 goals in the Champions League this season have come away from home, including scoring twice against Juventus and three times against PSG in the previous round.


However, the odds are stacked against them for this tie, with Barcelona 1.07 to reach the final four.


The Catalan giants have progressed from 39 of their 41 European ties in which they have won the first leg away from home, and it would be no surprise to see them win the second leg at 1.38.


Manchester United may not have quite enough to topple the La Liga champions, but they can certainly have a go, meaning there is plenty of value to be had in backing Barcelona to win and both teams to score at 2.50.



More magic from Messi


A collision with Chris Smalling in the first leg left Lionel Messi bloodied and bruised after the United defender caught the forward accidentally with a flailing arm.


The incident certainly left a mark on Messi, with the Barcelona talisman playing a more peripheral role at Old Trafford.


However, expect the Argentinian to be back to his best for the return leg, especially with his record of 22 goals in 31 Champions League games against English opponents.


Messi and his teammates will be boosted by Manchester United’s recent away record, with the Premier League side losing their last three matches on the road in all competitions.


All three of those matches saw United’s defensive frailties exposed, with Ashley Young in particular struggling at full-back, picking up a red card in the 2-1 defeat to Wolves.


With a forward line of Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho, Barcelona have the quality to punish any mistakes, with over 2.5 goals for the home side worth a look at 2.20.



Experience to tell at the Allianz


Ajax are dreaming of reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 1997, but face a stern test in Turin on Tuesday night.


Erik ten Hag’s side have been one of the standout teams this season, with a plethora of young talent excelling, including the brilliant trio of Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and David Neres.


Their pace and skill proved too much for Real Madrid in the last round, where the Dutch giants ran out 4-1 winners in the Bernabeu, and Juventus found them equally difficult in the first leg of their quarter-final tie.


However, the Serie A champions are seasoned veterans in the latter stages of the Champions League, with Juventus bidding to reach the semi-finals for the third time in the last five seasons.


The Old Lady have the knowhow to deal with these sorts of occasions, and boast a squad full of players who have been there and done it.


It is therefore no surprise to see Juventus at 1.32 to progress to the semi-finals, especially with the Italian side unbeaten in their last 10 meetings with Ajax in all competitions.


It won’t be plain sailing, though.


The visitors have already proved on countless occasions their ability to mix it with the very best, drawing with Bayern Munich twice in the group stages before seeing off Real Madrid in the last 16.


With that in mind, Juventus to win and both teams to score looks one of the strongest bets of the night at 3.35.


More records for Ronaldo


There are few players who have played a more pivotal role in the recent history of the Champions League than Cristiano Ronaldo.


The Portuguese superstar led Real Madrid to three successive titles in the competition before his move to Italy and Juventus will be hoping he can fire them to European glory.


Ronaldo certainly relishes this time of the season in the Champions League, with 64 of his 125 goals in the competition scored in the knockout stages.


His latest strike from that incredible tally was the opener against Ajax in the first leg, his eighth goal against them in total.


A few questions were raised about Ronaldo’s performances in the group stages for Juventus, where he scored just once and received a red card against Valencia in the Mestalla.


However, as soon as the knockout stages came into play, the 34-year-old raised his game, scoring a hat-trick to help Juventus to a 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the previous round.


Ajax’s attacking style of football should make for an open game at the Allianz, with the visitors having only failed to score once in the Champions League this term.


Fans can expect the goals to flow at either end, with both teams to score and over 2.5 goals available at 2.30, while over 3.5 goals in the game is a rather tasty 3.20.


With Ronaldo at their disposal, Juventus should be the more clinical of the two sides, so for those seeking something at a bigger price, take a look at Juventus to win and over 3.5 goals in the game at 4.30.