Man City v Steaua Bucharest – Etihad Stadium at 19:45 live on BT Sport 2
On Wednesday evening, Manchester City take on Steaua Bucharest in the second leg of their Champions League play-off.
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The first leg in Romania couldn’t have gone much better for City, taking a 5-0 scoreline back to the Etihad! Aguero scored a hat-trick although he did miss 2 penalties and Nolito and David Silva were the other players to get on the scoresheet.
Man City looked impressive and surely it’s now just a case of seeing out the 90 minutes, as there is no way Steaua Bucharest can come back from that scoreline!
Pep Guardiola’s side have started the season well and he has managed to win his first 2 Premier League games in charge at the club, against Sunderland (2-1) and Stoke City (4-1).
Sergio Aguero has been on fire, scoring in each of his last 3 competitive fixtures and Raheem Sterling has also looked impressive and nothing like the player he was in an England shirt at Euro 2016!
Despite this, in their last 2 league games Man City have failed to stop the opposition from scoring and therefore don’t rule out a Steaua Bucharest goal.
Last weekend Steaua Bucharest played Dinamo Bucharest in Romania Liga 1, but had to suffice with a 1-1 draw, with William managing to equalise 5 minutes after Rotariu’s opener. Steaua now sit 2nd in the league table behind Dinamo after wins against Viitorul (3-1), Concordia Chiajna (1-0) and Botoşani (2-0) have allowed them shoot up the table in these early stages of the new campaign.
Steaua Bucharest have made 2 good signings this transfer window in Fernando Boldrin and William, both of whom they bought off last year’s league champions Astra Giurgiu. The Romanian side will want to utilise these players against City and salvage some kind of pride for themselves, as if Guardiola’s side increase the goal deficit further, it could get rather embarrassing!
On the two other occasions that Steaua have reached this qualifying stage, their matches ended level on aggregate, although we can pretty much guarantee that this will not be the case on Wednesday night.
Steaua have only lost 1 out of their last 4 away games in European competition however, so perhaps we will see a better performance from Laurențiu Reghecampf’s side than we witnessed last week on Romanian soil.
Personally, I don’t think that Steaua are going to be up for this tie as chasing down a 5-0 goal deficit is a massive mountain to climb! However, Pep does not need to field his strongest of sides and will no doubt rest key players, but even so Steaua evidently lack quality. As City don’t need to put their gas on the peddle either, I recommend backing under 3.25 goals as I think we’ll be seeing a completely different game to the one we saw last week, as both sides aim to simply run down the clock.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 3.25 goals @ 1.82 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.