Preview: Man City in FA Cup semis; Madrid hosts Celta Vigo

AP , Friday 21 Apr 2023

Manchester City's quest for a treble lands on a semifinal against second-tier Sheffield United in the FA Cup.

Real Madrid
Real Madrid s Eden Hazard, centre, challenges for the ball with Cadiz s Luis Hernandez, left, and Ruben Alcaraz during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Cadiz CF and Real Madrid at the Nuevo Mirandilla stadium in Cadiz, Spain, Saturday, April 15, 2023. Photo: AP

 

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Saturday:

 

ENGLAND

Manchester City's quest for a treble lands on a semifinal against second-tier Sheffield United in the FA Cup.

It is a kind draw for City — Manchester United and Brighton meet in the other semi — but comes in the middle of a packed schedule that included an away game at Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The quick turnaround, and the fact City plays Arsenal on Wednesday in a potentially decisive game in the Premier League title race, means City manager Pep Guardiola is sure to rotate his lineup to give fringe players a run out.

Sheffield United is looking to become the first team from outside the top-flight to reach the FA Cup final. There are five games in the Premier League, including Liverpool at home to relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest and a relegation battle between Leicester and Wolverhampton.

 

SPAIN

After eliminating Chelsea to reach the semifinals of the Champions League for the 11th time in 13 seasons, Real Madrid turns its focus back to the domestic league and a game against Celta Vigo at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

Madrid is virtually out of contention for the title, as it trails Barcelona by 11 points, but it is in danger of losing second place to Atletico Madrid if it doesn't finish strong.

It has a two-point gap to Atletico, which on Sunday visits Barcelona. Celta, sitting in 12th place, is winless in three matches.

 

ITALY

Lazio will be looking to cement second spot when it hosts mid-table Torino in league action. Lazio has won seven of its past eight matches to move to second, albeit 14 points behind runaway leader Napoli.

It is two points above Juventus, after the Bianconeri had a 15-point penalty suspended, and five ahead of fourth-placed Roma. Lazio will be without Ciro Immobile after the forward’s car collided with a tram. Torino is winless in its past four matches.

Also, Spezia and Salernitana will be hoping to move away from the relegation zone when they play bottom club Sampdoria and Sassuolo respectively.

 

GERMANY

Bayern Munich's and Borussia Dortmund’s tussle for the league title continues with tough games for both.

Bayern, smarting after its Champions League exit to Manchester City, visits Mainz, the only team in the league that’s unbeaten in its last nine games.

For Mainz, it’s a reunion with Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel, whose coaching career took off as Mainz coach from 2009-14. Tuchel has endured a rocky start to his Bayern tenure with just two wins from six games across all competitions.

Bayern will hope to stay at least two points clear of Dortmund, which hosts Eintracht Frankfurt in the late game and will hope to atone for throwing away a two-goal lead in a draw with 10-man Stuttgart last weekend. With just six rounds including this weekend’s games remaining, there’s little room for error.

Also, Pál Dárdai makes his third debut in charge of Hertha Berlin. His bid to save the last-placed club from relegation begins against visiting Werder Bremen. Hoffenheim plays Cologne and Wolfsburg visits Bochum.

 

FRANCE

Lens was somewhat unlucky when it lost at league leader Paris Saint-Germain last weekend and needs to bounce back with a home win against Monaco.

With PSG looking certain to win the title, the race for second place and automatic qualification for the Champions League promises to be intense.

Third-placed Lens is only one point behind second-placed Marseille but Monaco is only two points behind Lens in fourth spot and positions could be shaken up this weekend. In the other game, fifth-placed Lille looks to maintain its push for a Europa League spot when it travels to improving Auxerre, which has won three straight games to pull away from relegation. Lille striker Jonathan David looks to add to his 20 league goals. He is tied with PSG star Kylian Mbappé atop the scoring charts.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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