The first installment of the last set of group stage matches in the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League competition was played yesterday while the remaining games are due to be played today. English sides Liverpool and Tottenham were able to turn their fortunes around as they did the “almost impossible” to qualify from their respective groups into the next round of the Champions League competition. Liverpool needed a must-win against Italian side Napoli for them to qualify while Tottenham on the other needed to avoid defeat away to Spanish giants Barcelona or at least get a draw if Deutch side PSV were to also avoid a defeat against Italian side Inter Milan in the other group game.
Tonight the remaining set of UEFA Champions League group stage matches will be played across Europe.
Manchester United will be traveling to Spain to play against Spanish side Valencia at the Mestalla stadium. Manchester United have already secured their place in the next round of the champions league competition while Valencia has been knocked out from the group stages, so the match somehow seems like a formality as the two teams have to play. For Valencia, there is nothing else to play for other than pride as they have already guaranteed their champions exit and an automatic entry into the UEFA Europa League. Manchester United will hope that Swiss club Young Boys will cause an upset by defeating Italian heavyweights Juventus so that Manchester United can top the Group H table and enter the next round of the champions league as group winners if they beat Valencia at the Mestalla stadium later tonight.
Unfortunately, Valencia’s star striker Goncalo Guedes will not be available for the match tonight due to a minor injury he sustained in their last La Liga match and would not be risked. It is also very likely that Jeison Murillo, Kevin Gamiero and Gabriel Paulista will be left out of the game tonight due to injuries while Jose Gaya is serving his suspension.
However, Manchester United has a fixture packed schedule for the next couple of weeks with a crucial match against bitter English football rivals Liverpool coming in at the weekend on Sunday. Jose Mourinho is expected to rest some key players ahead of the crucial Premier League tie against Liverpool on Sunday. Paul Pogba however, is expected to return to the starting line-up after he was relegated to a starting place on the bench in the last two games as a result of a reported clash with manager Jose Mourinho. Jose Mourinho has confirmed that promising youngster Andreas Perreira and goalkeeper Sergio Romero will start the game tonight in Spain as well as Paul Pogba. Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, and Alexis Sanchez will be absent for Manchester United due to various injuries.
Valencia vs Manchester United
Neto; Piccini, Ezekiel Garay, Diakhaby, Lato; Soler, Parejo, Kondogbia, Cheryshev; Rodrigo, Santi Mina.
Goncalo Guedes, Jeison Murillo, Gabriel Paulista, Kevin Gameiro.
Sergio Romero; Darmian, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot; Fred, Paul Pogba, Andreas Perreira; Marcus Rashford, Lukaku, Juan Mata.
Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Alexis Sanchez.
With both Valencia and Manchester United likely going to make a lot of changes t their starting line-up since there is little or nothing to play for in the champions league match tonight, it is expected that the match will be a drab affair and so it will be a boring game. So at best, a draw will be okay.
FT score: 1 – 1
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