Indian national women’s team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan feels that the Champions League clash between Manchester United and Atletico Madrid is a very tricky one to call as an inconsistent United welcome the Rojiblancos to the Theatre of Dreams.
“I think it is going to be a very intense game. The first game ended in a 1-1 draw and now England take that result back to England.”
“United haven’t been in great form this season, and I feel it is going to be really close and the team that scores the first goal of the night would have the advantage,” continued the shot stopper.
Taking into consideration United’s result against Tottenham Hotspurs in the Premier League over the weekend, it seems like Cristiano Ronaldo has once again hit a rich vein of touch when it matters most.
“Ronaldo’s back in the goals. He will have a lot of confidence going into the game. He has a good track record against Atletico. Like, I said, it is going to be very tough, very hard to say who is going to come out on top. The game might even go into extra time, but, probably Atletico might win this one,” said the 29 year old.
“Opinions aside, every team should be wary of Ronaldo, he’s been at the top for so many years, knows what it takes to perform and win at big events such as this. And I’m certain, Diego Simeone will be mindful of Ronaldo.” feels the Gokulam FC number 1.
Turning up on grand occasions and providing the goods when most necessary have been crucial to the rise and sustenance of Ronaldo at the very top of professional football. The big man has the habit of coming up with the extraordinary when the situation demands it.
“Scoring goal at crunch times is one of the reasons why some people consider him the greatest of all time. He loves to play against the big teams and certainly loves to play Atletico on the big stage,” opined the goalie.
“He has rescued United a number of times this season in the Champions League and the Premier League alike.”
Ronaldo has always been a force to be reckoned with once the Champions League anthem fades away and all eyes will be on the star as he takes centre stage in the grandest of European club competition once again.
That being said, one can’t rule out the contributions of the talented youngsters that both these European teams have been blessed with. The first leg of the fixture was a testament to the abundance of skilled up-and-comers these two powerhouses can boast of.
Joao Felix put his side up with an exquisite header to kick things off at the Wanda Metropolitano couple of weeks ago. And United had their own academy product in Anthony Elanga who replaced Marcus Rashford to come off the bench and pull the Mancunian side back on level terms.
Speaking of the youngsters, Chauhan said, “Youngsters need to turn up on big games. Matches such as this define a player’s character.”
“Mentality is the most important thing for a footballer and when you perform at these big events, your confidence and value shoot up,” explained Chauhan.
Going into the second game of the fixture at home with everything to play for and the tie very much still in the balance, United could emulate Real Madrid’s performance from last week as they swept aside a crestfallen PSG to advance to the subsequent phase of Europe’s elite tournament.
“Going by stats, Atletico Madrid have struggled against English clubs on the road, and looking at the numbers it might seem like it is going to be hard for them to visit the Old Trafford,” said the ex- West Ham United goalkeeper.
“It is going to be a challenge and predicting a clear winner is not an easy task as far as this fixture is concerned.”
But, the goalkeeper has her concerns about the inconsistent nature of Manchester United’s overall performance this season.
“The duality and volatile nature of their play this campaign makes it difficult to predict which United is going to turn up on matchday, and I’d give the odds to Atletico Madrid for this game,” concluded Chauhan.
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