Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid: Ronaldo can fire visitors into next round

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has been in superb scoring form
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Jack Lang thinks Unai Emery's side have too much to do in Tuesday's Champions League showdown...

"The first leg was fairly open and the match situation should lend itself to excitement here: PSG need goals and Madrid have the tools to punish them on the break"

Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid
Tuesday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

Can hosts rally without their star man?

It was an innocuous incident - no real challenge from a defender, just a loss of balance in a match already won - but Neymar's injury against Marseille on 25 February sent shockwaves through global football. The world's most expensive player, now recuperating in Brazil after surgery, looks likely to miss the remainder of the competition Paris Saint-Germain signed him to win.

It is a hammer blow for Unai Emery, who was already facing an uphill battle after watching his side surrender an advantage and then ship two late goals in Madrid three weeks ago. The Spaniard will know that his reign is likely to be over should PSG not manage dig themselves out of trouble here, which lends an extra dramatic dimension to a game that promises much.

Neymar's injury should present Ángel Di Maria with an opportunity to prove a point against his former club, and the Argentine's fine recent form provides some reason for belief. Kylian Mbappé, Edinson Cavani, Marquinhos and Marco Verratti should also be raring to go after being left out against Troyes at the weekend.

Madrid also working around absences

Madrid's late show at the Bernabéu puts them in a nice position as they travel to the French capital: they can afford to lose by one and still go through, and they know that any goal of their own scored at the Parc des Princes will make life very difficult indeed for their hosts. With so much European experience in the squad, Marcelo back after injury and Cristiano Ronaldo now in fine goalscoring fettle, they should be in confident mood.

Not that Los Merengues don't have issues of their own. Zinedine Zidane has had to do without Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić in recent weeks, and while both men returned to training on Sunday, this game will surely come too soon for either to start. That means a midfield three isn't really an option - Mateo Kovačić should start alongside Casemiro - and thus pushes Zidane towards a 4-4-2 system that may leave them vulnerable through the middle.

Ronaldo should lead the line, but there is some uncertainty about who will join him in the attacking roles. Karim Benzema's form has been iffy but he has the faith of his manager, meaning calls for Gareth Bale to get a free role may go unheeded, so the Welshman could be competing with Marco Asensio and Lucas Vázquez for spots out wide.

PSG's fine home record

Madrid are strong 1.3130/100 favourites to progress to the next round, which seems about right given that 67% of teams to have won the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie 3-1 on home soil have completed the job in the second.

But we can probably expect PSG to at least give this decent go in front of their own fans. Les Parisiens have lost only one of their last 46 home games in European competition, and have been excellent at the Parc des Princes this term, with 19 wins from 19 games. True, many of their victims were Ligue 1 also-rans, but the 3-0 success over Bayern Munich showed they can do it against quality opposition too, such that the 2.0811/10 on Emery's side to win this in 90 minutes may appeal.

Goals on the cards

The first leg was fairly open and the match situation should lend itself to excitement here: PSG need goals and Madrid have the tools to punish them on the break. Over 2.5 goals is short at 1.42/5, however, so the best option may be to back both teams to score in both halves - 11/2 on the Sportsbook - on what could easily turn into a topsy-turvy night of football.

Ron and only

It's a big European match, which can only mean one thing: Ronaldo. He's scored 14 goals in his last eight games (all competitions) and should be available at around 2.35/4 or similar on the Sportsbook come kick-off.

Jack Lang's Champions League P/L, 2017/18

Staked: 11pts
Returned: 9.69pts
P/L: -1.31pts

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