Six games produced the ‘Both Teams To Score’ market in the first leg, with only one fixture ending in a dull goalless draw. Qarabag, AC Milan and Sporting CP look to have booked their place in the quarterfinals due to establishing healthy leads in the first leg ties. 

Here’s a preview and predictions of the action coming your way this evening.

Qarabag vs Braga (agg: 2-4)

Qarabag look to have secured passage to the quarterfinals ahead of this second leg tie to be played at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium. A resounding 4-2 away win in Portugal dashed the hopes of Braga, who could have conceded more had it not been for the Qarabag’s profligacy in front of goal. 

The hosts have had a full week to prepare for the visit of the Portuguese outfit who are 12 points behind in the title race. The reigning Azerbaijan champions have registered at least three goals per game in their past seven encounters, and also conceded 12 times in that run. Braga also struggling to keep opponents at bay, and have conceded in five of their six previous fixtures. 

The second leg should provide a few goals from either sides. 

Prediction: Both Teams to Score

Rennes vs AC Milan (agg: 0-3)

With one foot already in the quarterfinals, AC Milan will look to make it official when they travel to France for the second leg of this Europa League tie. Rennes were decimated 3-0 by the European heavyweights in the past Thursday and look unlikely to cause any major upset on their home soil. Julien Stephen’s side displayed an improved perfomance over the weekend, winning 3-1 against Clermont to extend their unbeaten league run to nine games, a run stemming all the way back to December 17. 

The visitors are seen as favourites to advance to the quarterfinals due to their three goal advantage from the first half. Milan slumped to a 4-2 loss at AC Monza on Sunday, dealing a heavy blow to their tittle ambitions. Despite the defeat, Milan have only lost matches in their previous 14, and have scored at least two games per game in seven past games. 

Milan forward Luka Jovic (26) will be available to take part despite being sent off in the defeat to Monza. The forward scored two goals in the 3-0 first leg win and is the man to watch. Rennes’ recent home record is hard to ignore, especially since they’ll be facing a Milan side who have shown vulnerability on the road. Rennes is the team to back, but the cautious option looks well priced. Get on Rennes and Double Chance. 

Prediction: Home win or Draw

SC Freiburg vs Lens (agg: 0-0)

The first leg in France was a dull affair, with both sides lacking the edge to take the game by the scruff of its neck. Neither team scored nor threatened to produce a moment of quality in both halves. 

Both teams earned a point apiece in their league encounters over the weekend, with Freiburg securing a scintillating 3-3 come from behind draw against Eintracht Frankfurt and Lens playing to a 1-1- stalemate at Reims. The second leg presents the last opportunity for both teams to book their quarterfinal tickets.

The recent records between the two teams is contrasting, Freiburg are yet to taste victory in their six five games in all formats, and have kept only one clean sheet. Lens are unbeaten in their previous five games, keeping three clean sheets in the process. It looks like the end of the road for the stuttering home side. 

Prediction: Lens win or Draw

Toulouse vs Benfica (agg: 1-2)

Toulouse host their Portuguese visitors with firm hope of springing a surprise result on home soil. Benfica edged the first leg with a 2-1 win in Portugal but the result suggests the second leg may produce fireworks. 

Toulouse delivered a sucker punch over the weekend, winning 2-1 away to giants Monaco. This inspiring result may be the motivation the French side needed to try and overturn Benfica’s lead. Carles Martinez’s side are still battling survival in the league and have lost their past three league games with an aggregate of 6-2. 

The Portuguese romped to a 6-1 league win over Vizela in the weekend and look to have turned a corner after a run of poor displays in the first half of the season. Benfica have scored at least two goals in 12 successive matches and have lost once during that run. 

Toulouse’s home record counts against them heading into this tie, having shipped in six goals in three home defeats. Meanwhile, Benfica have registered 11 goals in their four matches on the road. Both teams should find the net here.

Prediction: Away/Draw & Over 1.5 

AS Roma vs Feyenoord (agg: 1-1)

A Resurgent AS Roma side welcome Feyenoord to the Capital for the second leg with the tie evenly poised. The two teams played to a dull 1-1 draw in De Kuip on Thursday, with Feyenoord surrendering a one goal lead in the second half. 

The two sides recorded victories in their respective leagues over the weekend, with Feyenoord brushing aside a hapless Frosinone 3-0 on, whilst Feyenoord stuttered to a one goal victory against lowly Waalwijk. 

Roma will fancy their chances at home, backed by their improved record since the appointment of Danielle De Rossi. Their squad is stacked with quality and seasoned campaigners; they will edge the tie 1-0. 

Prediction: AS Roma Straight Win

Marseille vs Shakhtar Donetsk (agg: 2-2)

Marseille host the Ukraine outfit in the second leg with neither team in pole position to advance to the quarterfinals. The French giants were pegged back twice in the 2-2 draw during the first leg, continuing on their shambolic recent form where they failed to win in seven straight games. That poor run has seen Marseile concede in all games.

The Ukrainians have not gone past the round of 16 of the competition in the last two editions they have competed in. Shakhtar’s recent form in Europe has seen them concede in five of their past seven fixtures. 

Shakhtar have scored at least two goals in their last three matches against Marseille in all competitions. Marseille’s leaky defense is a weakness that the away may easily exploit. 

Prediction: Both Teams To Score

Sparta Prague vs Galatasaray (agg: 2-3)

With a quarterfinal ticket still hanging in the balance, Sparta Prague will welcome Galatasaray to the Czech capital on Thursday night. The Czech giants were edged in a thrilling 3-2 defeat in Turkey last Thursday, but hopes of extending their European adventure are still alive. 

Sparta returned to winning ways in the weekend, securing a 2-1 win over Slovan Liberec, while Galatasaray breezed past Ankaragucu, scoring three unanswered goals. The hosts have kept one clean sheet in five previous encounters, a weakness that Galatasaray may look to exploit. The away side are in fine form, having won all of their previous matches heading into this clash. 

The fast-paced style adopted by both sides will make for a great showing in epet Arena. I expect both teams to create multiple chances in the game and eventually find the back of the net. 

Prediction: Both Teams to Score 

Sporting CP vs BSC Young Boys (agg: 3-1)

Sporting Lisbon are in cruise control heading into this clash. They are top of the Primeira Liga with 54 points and easily defeated Young Boys 3-1 in the first leg on Thursday. 

Sporting’s have won five consecutive games, scoring 21 goals and keeping four clean sheets in the process.  The Portuguese giants edged Moreirense 2-0 on Monday to continue their surging run. The away side have a healthy seven-point lead at the top of the Super League table following their 1-0 victory over Stade le Ouchy over the weekend. 

Sporting are firing on all cylinders and will be no match for the Swiss side. They have won their past 12 home games in all competitions. Their away win last Thursday proves the gulf in quality separating these teams. 

Prediction: Both Teams to Score

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