After falling agonizingly short in Porto last year, Manchester City return to the Champions League as favorites to go all the way and lift the trophy in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in May. Certainly, Sporting are not expected to unduly test Pep Guardiola’s side, who have dropped just two points since the end of the group stage in December.
City will be without injured record signing Jack Grealish, Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, who is suspended for both legs of this tie. Still, they should have more than enough to overcome even a full strength Sporting, though they would do well not to take danger man Pedro Gonçalves lightly. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 15 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Estádio José Alvalade — Lisbon, Portugal
TV and live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Sporting +1000; Draw +450; Manchester City -350 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Sporting CP vs. Manchester City
Sporting CP: The Portuguese champions’ competitive juices will certainly be flowing after this weekend where they warmed up for their return to European action with a clash against Porto that began in ferocious fashion and ended in a 40-man brawl in which four players were sent off. Though those suspensions will not carry through to the Champions League, Ruben Amorim will not be pleased with how his side frittered away a two-goal lead with chaotic defending from crosses, a bad sign ahead of games against City.
If nothing else, at least history is on Sporting’s side. They have met City just once in the 2011-12 Europa League, reaching the quarterfinals on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate draw.
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Manchester City: There might be six games between City and any final but already the talk is whether the presumptive Premier League champions can go one better than last year and win in the final. Every season in which Guardiola falls short tends to bring with it questions over the manager’s tactics but his players are doing all they can to cool talk that it is win or bust for City.
“This club hasn’t won the Champions League yet but we’re not obliged to win it,” João Cancelo said. “People on the outside might think that but we don’t think that. We know we have one of the best teams in Europe, one of the best squads.
“But I think winning the Champions League isn’t an obligation. You have to go up against the best teams in Europe and face the best players in the world. We are capable of winning it but it’s not our duty.”
Sporting have proven to be a side that are good at limiting an opponents’ shots on goals but they will surely not have enough to keep City at bay. Pick: Sporting CP 0, Manchester City 2
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