Hello and welcome to The Athletic’s coverage of this Champions League round-of-16 second leg between Manchester United and Atletico Madrid.
The tie is finely poised after a 1-1 draw in Madrid three weeks ago where Anthony Elanga’s second-half strike cancelled out Joao Felix’s early header.
Both sides have underwhelmed domestically this season but come into the game in decent form. United beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 on Saturday in a thrilling match, with Cristiano Ronaldo netting a hat-trick, while Atletico have won all three of their matches since the sides last played.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Alex Telles; McTominay, Fred; Elanga, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo.
Substitutes: Heaton, Henderson, Bailly, Jones, Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka, Lingard, Mata, Matic, Pogba, Cavani, Rashford.
Atletico Madrid (5-3-2) Oblak; Llorente, Gimenez, Savic, Reinildo, Renan Lodi; Koke, Herrera, De Paul; Joao Felix, Griezmann.
Substitutes: Lecomte, Christian, Felipe, Hermoso, Gonzalez, Ibra, Kondogbia, Serrano, Moreno, Carlos, Suarez, Correa.
The Portuguese icon, buoyed by that performance which flew in the face of recent criticism, will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing Atleti. He’s scored 25 goals in 36 previous games against Los Rojiblancos.
The Red Devils will be reliant on him for the Champions League-winning experience, with Ronaldo eyeing an unlikely, record-breaking sixth European crown. He is undoubtedly the man for the big occasion, and will draw on previous famous match-winning displays at this stage – such as against Atleti in March 2019, when he single-handedly overturned a 2-0 deficit.
Man United vs. Atletico Madrid live updates
3:10pm: Atletico have struggled to make inroads in the latter stages of the Champions League in recent seasons, with just one quarter-final appearance since 2016/17. That sole progression from the round of 16, in 2019/20, did come in this part of the world, however – Simeone’s men famously knocked out Liverpool with a smash-and-grab performance at Anfield.
2:56pm: For United, meanwhile, in-form youngster Elanga is rewarded with a massive opportunity on the big stage.
2:30pm: United centre-back Raphael Varane – very familiar with tonight’s opponents as a former Real Madrid hero – says his new team were “happy to draw” the first leg following a poor first half. The Frenchman has also praised Anthony Elanga: “He’s improving. He’s very young but has the right mentality to improve and express his quality. He’s extremely fast and has a good finish. He’s very important this season.”
2:15pm: In his programme notes, Ralf Rangnick lavished praise on Cristiano Ronaldo for breaking the all-time global goalscoring record: “He has now scored 807 goals and I am certain he will keep adding to that total over the coming weeks and months – hopefully including tonight! His contribution [vs. Spurs] was bigger than just the hat-trick; he was a key part of the team in both attack and defence.”
2:00pm: Welcome to Sporting News’ live coverage from Old Trafford, as Manchester United aim to keep their faint dreams of silverware alive, in the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Atletico Madrid. Confirmed team news to follow in the next hour.