Champions League Round of 16 First Leg Review And Preview

By Ian John
February 23, 2022

Last week we saw the first four games in the Champions League Round of 16 take place and this week, the second set of four first leg games in the competition will take place across Europe.

There will then be a break of a week before the competition returns for the second leg fixtures, which will be played across early to mid-March and will see which teams make it through into the quarter-finals of the competition.

Given how the four first leg games finished last week, we do have some idea of which teams should make it through, which we will take a closer look at when we review each of the games below.

We will then turn our attention to the four games taking place this week, looking at the odds on the two teams from bet365 Sport, before giving you our tips on how we see each of the four games going across Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

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Let’s now get started by taking a look at how last week’s games in the Champions League turned out.

Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg Games

Tuesday 15th February

  • Paris St Germain 1-0 Real Madrid

A marvellous individual goal deep in injury time handed Paris St Germain a narrow lead heading into the second leg in Madrid. Kylian Mbappe, reportedly a target for Madrid, scored the goal with a clever dribble past two Real defenders before slotting low past Courtois to hand PSG a vital lead ahead of the second leg in Madrid.

Madrid mustered just three shots on goal in the game, none on target, in a defensive and unambitious display for which manager Carlo Ancelotti was heavily criticised by a ex-Real players, board members and the press in Spain.

  • Sporting Lisbon 0-5 Manchester City

This tie was effectively over in the first half in Lisbon as Manchester City raced into a 4-0 lead at the interval and added a fifth in the second half in a game that they totally dominated from start to finish.

Mahrez converted the opening goal, before Bernardo Silva added a second on 17 minutes. Phil Foden made it three just after the half hour mark before Silva added his second of the game just before half time.

Silva saw a hat-trick goal denied him early in the second half by VAR, but Sterling’s goal made it 5-0 and City saw out the remainder of the game comfortably to take a huge lead into the home leg.

Wednesday 16th February

  • Red Bull Salzburg 1-1 Bayern Munich

The biggest surprise result of the night came in Austria where Red Bull Salzburg came within just a few minutes of a shock win over the mighty Bayern Munich, the second favourites to win the competition behind Manchester City.

Adamu handed Salzburg the lead with a clean finish on 21 minutes of the first half and the Austrians fought off a Bayern fightback in the second half to almost claim the win, however Kingsley Coman grabbed an equaliser on 90 minutes to hand the German side a share of the spoils.

However, with Bayern losing some home games in recent times, Salzburg will be hoping a similar performance in the Allianz Arena in the second leg could put them in with a chance of a huge upset but Bayern will be strong favourites.

  • Inter Milan 0-2 Liverpool

Liverpool produced a masterclass of clinical finishing to take a decisive 2-0 lead back to Anfield for the second leg in three weeks time. After a tight and even first half, Inter began the second half strongly, only for Liverpool’s rearguard led by van Dijk and Konate, to fed off several Inter attacks.

The Reds then made Inter pay when Bobby Firmino headed home a fantastic goal on 75 minutes to put the Reds in front and then eight minutes later, Mo Salah turned and fired in a shot which took a slight deflection on its way into the net to put the Reds 2-0 in front.

Those two shots were the only two on target in the whole game and gave the Reds a comfortable cushion while Inter looked very much a beaten team by the end of the game, with the Reds creating a couple of other opportunities late on.

Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg Games Preview

Tuesday 22nd February

  • Chelsea v Lille

Defending Champions Chelsea will face Lille on Tuesday night knowing that they need a positive result to take into the second leg in France. Lille have not enjoyed a great season domestically, but they have beaten both Wolfsburg and Sevilla away from home in the group stages and that will be a warning to Chelsea not to underestimate the French side.

The Londoners picked up a much-needed win over Crystal Palace at the weekend, but Thomas Tuchel’s men will be focusing hard on defending the trophy they won last year as they are so far behind City and Liverpool in the league.

This will be a closer game than the 1/3 price on a Chelsea win suggests and as such, I think the Chelsea to win and both teams to score at 12/5 is a solid betting option for this game.

  • Villarreal v Juventus

Juventus start this game as favourites but Villarreal are a tricky team to beat and although they tend to draw more games than they win, the Spaniards are certainly not going to make life easy for the Italians here.

However, after a slow start this season, Juventus’ form has improved markedly in the last few months and I can see them having a real chance of taking a slender lead into the second leg in Turin. Villarreal, lets remember, did lose at home to Man Utd in he Group Stages.

The Spanish side have some good players, Danjuma stands out for me, but I think the quality the Italian team have throughout their squad means that I think they will shade a narrow 1-0 win here which is 7/1 on the correct score market at bet365.

Wednesday 23rd February

  • Atletico Madrid v Manchester United

I think this game should be a cracking match between two sides who are trying to transition from a somewhat disappointing season. Atletico won La Liga last year but they have struggled this season and have conceded 34 goals in La Liga and were well off the pace set by Liverpool in the group.

United did win their group ahead of Villarreal but they were far from convincing, although their best performance did come away in Spain against Villarreal where the win secured them the group and Atletico have lost at home and away to Liverpool, another English side.

I feel this is a game where both teams will feel they may stand a better chance in the away leg given their strengths on the counterattack here and so I think United may be quite happy to get something from this game and I think the draw at 11/5 is a good bet.

  • Benfica v Ajax

For me, along with Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Liverpool, Ajax have been the standout team in the competition this season and I fancy the Dutch side to get a solid result away to a Benfica team that lies third in its domestic league.

The Dutch side are playing some good football and for me, the way the team is put together and the way they can rotate around some pivotal players in the team in attack, Haller for example, makes them a very tough match up for all teams in this competition.

As such, I am going to back Ajax to land a 3-1 win in this game which is a 12/1 shot with bet365 on the correct score market.

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