CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QF SECOND-LEG PREDICTIONS
2023-04-18 · -2 min read · Champions League/Soccer
REUTERS/Molly Darlington | Getty Images
We're halfway through the 2022/23 Champions League quarterfinals, and in any other competition three of the ties would be pretty much dead and buried. But Europe's premier club competition wouldn't have garnered its prestige if it boasted such predictability. Literally anything could happen on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Below are my predictions on who will remain after this week and advance to the Champions League semifinals.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid (0-2)
The second legs begin on Tuesday night with the tie between Chelsea and Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge. Real eased to a 2-0 victory in the first leg but haven't completely killed off the tie heading into the reverse fixture. If Chelsea can find the first goal, anything is possible at home.
Prediction: Chelsea 1 – 1 Real Madrid
Chelsea will find the back of the next in the first half setting up a thrilling second half. Chelsea will pressure but Real Madrid will bend without breaking. Madrid get a late equalizer to kill off the tie, most likely from Karim Benzema.
Napoli vs AC Milan (0-1)
A lot has changed in the past weeks. Napoli were the best team in Europe for most of the season, but they are not playing like it down the final stretch. Victor Osimhen absolutely needs to start for Napoli for me to believe in them. From what it sounds like, he will be playing. Napoli score goals when Osimhen is on the pitch, and I believe they will do that again on Tuesday.
Prediction: Napoli 2 – 0 AC Milan
Napoli find a way to get it done. Napoli will dominate most of the game with AC Milan happy to “park the bus” and allow Napoli to pressure hoping for a counter-attack. The duo of Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will yet again be the difference and just be enough for Napoli to advance.
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City (0-3)
I am not going to sugar-coat this one. It is over. Despite Bayern Munich being at home I do not see any chance they overcome a three-goal deficit let alone even come away with a one-goal victory. City have been flying on all levels the past several months and Bayern have done the exact opposite. After firing their manager out of nowhere and replacing him with Thomas Tuchel, the Bavarians have not seen the changes they were hoping. They have actually got worse. Bayern do not have any real striker and do not have the ability to beat City three or four times in one match.
Prediction: Bayern 1 – 1 City
I am giving Bayern the benefit of the doubt assuming they will play with passion at home and avoid a defeat. Honestly though, this can get end up two or three-nil for City again. It depends how much City want to score. City control everything in this match and if they choose to start a defensive-minded starting-eleven I would consider it having mercy on Bayern Munich.
Inter Milan vs Benfica (2-0)
This was obviously the quarterfinal that flew under the radar last week, and it threatens to do so again this time around. Yes, there was intrigue in seeing just how good Benfica were -- could they really test the best in Europe? I suppose we will simply never know. Inter might not be easy on the eye but they have certainly been effective in this season's Champions League, keeping five clean sheets in nine matches.
Prediction: Inter 1 – 1 Benfica
This may be a snoozer. Inter Milan are best at holding a lead and they will do that for ninety minutes. Perhaps Benfica can score the first goal and put pressure on Inter but I don’t think that will happen. Inter will score a first-half goal, go into halftime up three-nil on aggregate and that is that. The damage was already done in the first leg.
By: Aaron Cantin