Man City eye big prize and all eyes on Cristiano Ronaldo among Champions League hot topics

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Leroy Sane scores spectacularly in the 3-2 win in Gelsenkirchen.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Barcelona are among the clubs bidding to reach the Champions League quarter-finals this week.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the main talking points.

City keep eyes on big prize

Manchester City have been installed as favourites to lift the trophy after two late away goals clinched them a roller-coaster 3-2 first-leg win over Schalke.

City are under investigation by both UEFA and the Premier League for allegedly breaching financial fair play rules and the club’s hierarchy will be anxious to keep the spotlight focused on the team’s exploits.

Pep Guardiola’s side chase their 10th straight win in all competitions, but fans will be wary as Schalke posed a serious threat in Gelsenkirchen.

Klopp plots compatriots’ downfall

Klopp

Liverpool’s last-16 tie against Bayern Munich hangs in the balance after a goalless draw at Anfield in the first leg. Jurgen Klopp’s side spurned several chances to eke out an advantage and the Germans must start as favourites for the return.

In Champions League history, only 10 of the 31 sides held at home in the first leg of a knockout match have progressed.

Bayern have lost only two of their last 26 home ties in the tournament, but Liverpool excel on the counter-attack and Klopp will relish the challenge in his homeland.

All eyes on Ronaldo

Ronaldo

Juventus, two-time winners and beaten finalists in 2015 and 2017, face an uphill battle against Atletico Madrid in Turin.

The Bianconeri must overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit and will be pinning their hopes on Cristiano Ronaldo, so often the architect of the Spanish club’s downfall during nine years at Real Madrid.

The Portuguese, rested in Juve’s 4-1 weekend win against Udinese, has scored 22 goals in 33 appearances against Atletico and aims to be the catalyst in an Italian fightback.

Barca odds-on to keep treble hopes alive

Lopes kept Barca at bay in the first leg.

Lopes kept Barca at bay in the first leg.

Barcelona are on course for a La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble and barring a major upset will secure a place in the last eight of the tournament for the 11th successive season.

Lyon’s Anthony Lopes produced a goalkeeping masterclass as the first leg in France ended goalless, but Barca have since enjoyed successive cup and league wins over arch-rivals Real Madrid.

And, seven points clear at the top of their domestic table, they appear to be hitting their straps at the business end of the season.

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'Man United are back' - Twitter reacts to dramatic victory over PSG

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Manchester United recovered from a 2-0 first leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 with a 3-1 victory in the away fixture to progress on the away goals rule.

A severely depleted United outfit were clear underdogs heading into the tie with Paul Pogba suspended and several first team players missing through injury.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as interim boss has been an enchanted one and the magic was on show again as a brace from Romelu Lukaku – his third in the last three games – and a dramatic injury-time penalty from Marcus Rashford fired United into the quarter-finals.

“I’ve got some fantastic memories,” Solskjaer said after the win. “Eh, football – that’s what it gives you.

“It’s special when you’re a coach or a manager doing it with your staff and players.

Social media naturally blew up with reaction to United’s success against the odds and here, we’ve picked out some of the best bits on Twitter.

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PSG 1-3 Man United (3-3): Ole Gunnar Solskjaer adds to legend, trauma for Thomas Tuchel

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Manchester United somehow progressed to the Champions League quarter-finals with Marcus Rashford’s controversial late penalty seeing them overcome Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.

The visitors got off to the perfect start – as did the tie from a neutral perspective – when Romelu Lukaku pounced on a poor Thilo Kehrer back pass to sweep United ahead.

That sparked the hosts into life and Kylian Mbappe dragged them back into it when he set up Juan Bernat to tap in. However, United retook the lead before the break when Lukaku scored his second – profiting from another mistake when he gleefully tapped in after Gianluigi Buffon spilled Rashford’s speculative effort.

Both teams had chances in the second period but lacked the necessary quality, with the French side looking like they would hang on until late VAR drama with United awarded a stoppage-time penalty for a Presnel Kimpembe handball. Rashford rifled it in and United went through on away goals.

LAST-GASP HEROES

Solskjaer’s ability to write his name into United’s storied history remains undiminished – and unmatched.

1998/99’s last-gasp hero in the Barcelona final can now say he oversaw 2018/19’s Parisian miracle makers.

The parallels to Bayern Munich two decades ago continued, a depleted side being given a chasing prior to their finish for the ages.

The caretaker manager’s latest achievement was utterly unparalleled. In 107 previous attempts, no side had overturned a 2-0 home deficit to progress in the European Cup.

With 10 first-team players out, a figure that contained his entire first-choice midfield, the odds were further stacked against him.

The visitors’ prospects were also not helped by an ill-fitted early outing of a 3-5-2 formation.

The Red Devils then barely touched the ball all night. But the maligned Scott McTominay was an animal unleashed in midfield, winning a team-high five tackles and boasting the second-highest pass percentage of 96. 2.

Some stand-in for Nemanja Matic. Lukaku grabbed two goals in the first half and then ended up heading balls away in the fraught scenes at the death.

A 14th victory from 17 outings since the contentious, divisive Jose Mourinho bid farewell will never be forgotten.

Solskjaer surely has done more than enough to be given next season – and beyond.

PSG’S MENTAL BLOCK

Brutal trauma, yet again, for PSG in the round of 16.

Just two years after Barcelona’s Neymar-inspired recovery saw a 4-0 first-leg advantage evaporate in harrowing manner, history has, somehow, repeated.

Park the VAR controversy to one side. Searching questions must be asked by the Parisians about how they allowed a chronically depleted opponent, who enjoyed only 24-per-cent possession on the night, and at one stage were 3-1 down in the tie, to triumph?

In mitigation, Brazil superstar Neymar did not play a minute in either game. Prolific Uruguay centre forward Edinson Cavani was thrust on for the desperate, shell-shocked final throes.

Injuries to them did not help. But PSG should have had far, far too much against this United.

A trio of defensive catastrophes saw the hosts write their own suicide note. So too Mbappe finding the post in a game when Rashford was calmness personified from the penalty spot – what an occasion to tackle a first-ever competitive spot-kick for your club – and Lukaku faultless when presented with two gifts.

This is damning evidence of mental fragility. Further weight is added to by the fact it’s a quartet apiece of round-of-16 and quarter-final exits since the revolutionary Qatari takeover.

Are PSG left soft by a lack of genuine competition in Ligue 1?

Has the gamble on Mbappe and Neymar’s market warping signings, leaving little space for further midfield additions because of Financial Fair Play, condemned them to perennial failure?

Something has to change.

BAILLY’S A TICKING TIME BOMB

Before the epic late drama, a strong argument existed that the increasingly hapless Eric Bailly was this tie’s defining figure.

The gormless Ivory Coast centre-back dallied, fractionally, in the first leg and allowed Mbappe to slide in the killer second. Alarmingly, no lessons were learned in the interim.

It was astonishing to witness a figure who appeared so promising in his 2016/17 debut campaign at United so conspicuously – and repeatedly – fail to perform the basics prior to Bernat’s leveller on Wednesday. He became hypnotised as Mbappe picked up the ball, never once looking at the Spanish left-back who surged beyond him uncontested to tap in a low cross at the back post.

There was no spark from Bailly in the City of Light. And for the second time this season, after October’s horrific 19 minutes against Newcastle, he was hooked before the interval.

The £30 million buy from Villarreal trudged off with a pained expression on his face, he’d minutes before been clattered by Italy midfielder Marco Verratti. But the agony was all Solskjaer’s.

Repeat injuries have, unquestionably, hampered Bailly. Is it already, however, too late to salvage the 24-year-old’s Old Trafford residency.

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