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Sporting vs Manchester City in the Champions League on Feb 15. 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Sporting vs Manchester City in the Champions League on Feb 15. 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Manchester City are current favourites to win this year’s Champions League but standing in their way in the Round of 16 is Portuguese side Sporting, who certainly can’t be underestimated.

The bookies have them as 10/1 outsiders for this leg, even though they have home advantage. Given some of their performances in the competition so far, it does seem to slightly underestimate them.

They’re obviously coming up against a powerhouse Manchester City side, though, and when in top gear, Pep Guardiola’s men are tricky to stop.

  • Kindly note that all information in this preview, including whether or not the event will take place, is subject to change due to Covid-19.
MarketPrediction
HandicapSporting Lisbon 2
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Sporting +2 (Handicap)

Both sides head into the game in pretty decent form. Manchester City undoubtedly have the class edge, but Sporting have the ability to cause the visitors a few problems.

Whether that will be enough for them to get a positive result is another matter, but Ruben Amorim’s men can keep things relatively tight scoreline-wise.

It’s hard to see them having much of the ball, but they’re a relatively well-organised side, and City lost two of their three away games in the group stages.

Even if City do get the win, we don’t think it’ll be by more than one goal. The hosts can be dangerous themselves going forward, so with that in mind, our selection for the match is Sporting +2 on the Handicap market at odds of 20/21 with 888.

Sporting Form, squad news, opinion

After being drawn in a group with Ajax, Dortmund and Besiktas respectively, Sporting’s route to the knockout round looked a pretty tricky one.

They managed three wins from six, however, including convincing home victories against both Besiktas and Dortmund.

They’ll be aiming for a similar level of performance here, and although that won’t be easy, confidence will be high, given the run of form they’re on.

Sporting have won 23 of their last 26 games across all competitions, prior to their huge top of the table Primeira Liga clash against Porto at the weekend. It’s a pretty remarkable patch of results, so City will be made to work hard against their Portuguese opponents.

Amorim has a fully-fit squad to choose from and he’ll be hoping for more magic from his frontline. Pedro Goncalves on the left (13 goals, 9 assists), Pablo Sarabia on the right (12 goals, 8 assists), and Paulinho down the middle (13 goals, 9 assists), have worked very well together this campaign as a forward three.

Manchester City Form, squad news, opinion

Will this finally be the year that Manchester City win the European trophy they so desperately crave? After reaching the final and coming so close in last season’s competition, Citizens’ supporters will be hoping their team can go one better this time around.

They certainly have all the required pieces, and as is so often the case with Guardiola’s City team, they’ve played some glorious stuff so far this campaign.

Knockout football takes no prisoners, though, and they’ll have to be at the top of their game to make it all the way.

Like any side - even of their quality - they can be susceptible to the odd dud result. They lost on two occasions away from home in the group stages. City did put in a good performance against PSG, but they ultimately fell to a 2-0 defeat on the night. A 2-1 loss against Leipzig closed out their group campaign, and Sporting do have a steely edge on their own patch.

At the time of writing, City have won nine of their last ten in all competitions, scoring 31 goals in the process. It’s hard to ever envisage them not getting on the scoresheet at least once, but they might have to be a bit more patient than usual here.

They could have striker Gabriel Jesus back in time for this game. The Brazil forward picked up a slight knock on international duty with Brazil.

History

This is just the third ever meeting between the sides. They last clashed in a Europa League Round of 16 tie back in 2012.

Sporting won the first leg 1-0, before travelling to Manchester and securing vital away goals in a 3-2 defeat. That subsequently saw them progress into the quarterfinals of the competition that year.

About the Venue

The Estadio Jose Alvalade is a relatively new stadium, given it was constructed in 2001, before opening two years later.

It was built as a replacement for Sporting’s old stadium of the same name and holds up to 50,095 supporters.

Conclusion

There are heavy annual expectations on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side to bring that first elusive Champions League title to the Etihad Stadium.

It’s likely they’ll have too much in the end over two legs against this Sporting side, but that doesn’t mean the Primeira Liga team won’t be a tough nut to crack.

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