Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport schedule and format look very different than we have been accustomed to throughout the major sports. The UEFA Champions League is no exception as not only the quarterfinal matches are being played in August instead of early April, but also there will be just one match instead of two different legs. This is including the fact that all matches will take place in Lisbon for the remainder of the competition. I will write four quick previews for each match, starting with Atalanta versus Paris Saint-Germain. The match will take place on August 12 at 3:00 p.m. EST.
Atalanta has been one of the UCL’s darlings. They secured their place in the UCL knockout round for the first time in club history. They made the most of it as they handled La Liga foe Valencia 8-4 with 32-year-old Slovenian striker Josip Illicic scoring four goals in the second leg in their 4-3 win. Their offense is blistering as they scored 98 goals in the Serie A, 16 more than Juventus, the league’s champions in 2020.
Paris Saint-Germain has been as dominant as ever. They expectedly crushed their competition in Ligue 1, winning by 12 points in a shortened league season and scoring 75 goals, 34 more than second-place Marseille. In the knockout round, PSG overcame a 2-1 loss in leg one to defeat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the second leg and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.
Both clubs come into this match shorthanded as Atalanta will be without Illicic who has left the club for personal reasons. As for PSG, young superstar Kylian Mbappe injured his ankle a few weeks ago, leaving his status for the match in question. He could play but will not be a full-strength.
Both clubs can score in bunches and the match could be a potential shootout. The match will simply come down to which front line can finish their chances better and I believe that will be PSG. Mauro Icardi is a difference maker for the club as he takes over as the main striker for long-time stalwart Edinson Cavani. With Neymar being healthy and at the top of his game, I expect him to lead PSG to their first UCL semifinal appearance since 1995. Neymar will start to earn his gigantic contract he received when joining PSG.
Prediction: PSG 3 Atalanta 1