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Champions League: Stage set for Round of 16 draw on Monday

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Nyon (Switzerland), Dec 12 (IANS) Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United could run into Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) when the draw for the Champions League Round of 16 is made on Monday.

The clash involving Ronaldo and Messi renewing their rivalry from the Spanish League is one of the possible matchups predicted for Monday’s draw taking into consideration the various rules. As per the prediction, United can run into either Atletico Madrid, Benfica, Inter Milan, Salzburg, or Sporting besides PSG.

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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City could face either Atletico, Benfica, Inter, Salzburg, Sporting, or Villarreal of Spain.

The four English clubs — defending champions Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Manchester United will, however, be hoping to avoid top guns like Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid in the draw that draw will be conducted at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday.

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However, it may prove a bit difficult. The clubs are assured of avoiding teams from the same country and also those that they have met in the previous round, which means at least one of them may run into another top club.

The other clubs in the fray are Ajax of Netherlands, Bayern Munich of Germany, Italy’s Juventus, LOSC Lille of France, Spani’s Atletico Madrid, Portugal’s Benfica, Inter Milan of Italy, Paris Saint-Germain of France, Salzburg of Austria, Sporting CP of Portugal and Villarreal of Spain.

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Of the 16 teams that have qualified for the knockout stage, eight clubs — Ajax, Bayern, Juventus, Liverpool, Lille, Manchester City, Man United, and Real Madrid — are seeded and will be part of one bowl for the draw.

Considering the various combinations, defending champions Chelsea could run into

They will play in two-leg matches with the first legs scheduled for 15/16/22/23 February and the second legs on 8/9/15/16 March. The draw for the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final will be made on March 18.

The big difference this year from last year is doing away with the away goal rule.

With no away goal rule, if ties are level after 180 minutes, teams will have to go to extra time irrespective of the number of goals each team has scored at home and away. If the teams still cannot be separated after the additional 30 minutes, the tie goes to a penalty shoot-out.

Saint Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena will stage the final of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League, with the game scheduled for May 28, 2022.

–IANS

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