Hazard and Rodrygo start for Real Madrid as Man City pick Foden over Silva

By Sports Desk August 07, 2020

Eden Hazard and Rodrygo will start for Real Madrid against Manchester City in the Champions League last-16 second leg.

Belgium star Hazard had been battling to be fit after suffering discomfort in the ankle he injured in February, but head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed this week the player was feeling better.

He joins Rodrygo, preferred to Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior, alongside Karim Benzema in attack, while Eder Militao starts as expected in place of the suspended Sergio Ramos.

City boss Pep Guardiola has dropped Eric Garcia to the bench after announcing on Thursday that the teenage defender – heavily linked with a return to boyhood club Barcelona – would not sign a new contract at the Etihad Stadium.

Veteran campaigner Fernandinho will partner Aymeric Laporte in the heart of defence, with Phil Foden handed a start as David Silva begins his final game as a City player in Manchester among the substitutes.

Gabriel Jesus, who played much of the first leg on the left flank before heading in City's equaliser, starts up front in Sergio Aguero's ongoing absence through a knee injury, while Guardiola again appears to have opted for a double pivot in midfield of Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri, who both started at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Portugal international Joao Cancelo is preferred to Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back, with Benjamin Mendy suspended.

City lead 2-1 from that first leg.

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    Inter head coach Antonio Conte compared Romelu Lukaku to an NFL quarterback, while he also hailed two-goal hero Achraf Hakimi following Saturday's 3-1 win over Bologna.

    Conte's Inter closed the gap on Serie A leaders and city rivals Milan to two points thanks to Lukaku and full-back Hakimi at San Siro.

    Inter star Lukaku broke the deadlock in the 16th minute before Hakimi doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time.

    Emanuel Vignato's 67th-minute goal threatened to make things tense for Inter, but Hakimi's second wrapped up proceedings as the Nerazzurri took their tally to 26 goals in the first 10 Serie A games of the season for the first time since 2009-10.

    Conte heaped praise on in-form forward Lukaku, who has scored eight goals in his first nine league appearances this term – the Belgium international has scored more than seven goals before the 11th match of the season for the first time in his career.

    Lukaku has also scored in all of his first four home appearances in Serie A in 2020-21, joining Christian Vieri as the only Inter players to achieve the feat in the league's three-point-win era.

    "I believe he can still get stronger," Conte told DAZN. "I described him as a rough diamond when he arrived and felt that work would help him become one of the best strikers in the world.

    "He is on the right track, as he has everything, the physicality of a centre-forward, but also the pace and power of an American Football quarterback.

    "He is doing well, has understood what needs to be done, is humble and works for the team. I am very happy with him."

    Hakimi, who arrived from LaLiga champions Real Madrid ahead of the current campaign following two successful seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, became the only Serie A defender this term to score at least two goals and provide two assists.

    "This lad is 20 years old and had just two seasons at Dortmund, where they play a much less tactical style of football. Haki is working hard, he has realised the difference between playing in Italy and Germany, where the opponents don't study you as much, where they don't identify your characteristics as precisely," Conte added.

    "I think he is in the right team and with the right coach to become one of the best in the world in his role. It will require a lot of work, but I'm very happy, because this type of performance will boost his confidence, whereas errors in the past might've dented his self-belief.

    "He needs a balance, it's going to be a process and I am glad he got this personal satisfaction of a brace."

    Christian Eriksen, who is out of favour and heading for a January exit just a year after swapping Tottenham for Inter, was a stoppage-time substitute against Bologna.

    "My rapport with Christian is the same as all the other players. I will never tire of explaining that what I do and the choices I make are for the good of Inter," Conte.

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    PSG star Mbappe had been stuck on 99 goals across all competitions since November 20, but he finally joined the illustrious century club – which only includes Pauleta (109), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) and Edinson Cavani (200) – away to Montpellier.

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    "If he keeps working like that, I'm sure we will give him some chances to score. Today, I can only say congratulations.

    "The boy is always decisive. Every striker needs to score. And I hope it will continue on Tuesday."

    PSG returned to winning ways, having only picked up one point from their previous two Ligue 1 fixtures against Bordeaux (2-2 draw) and Monaco (3-2 defeat).

    Colin Dagba put visitors PSG ahead in the 33rd minute before Montpellier's Stephy Mavididi equalised four minutes prior to half-time.

    Moises Kean – who has scored five goals in his last six Ligue 1 games, as many as his previous 40 league games – restored PSG's lead with 13 minutes remaining before Mbappe came off the bench and sealed the points in the first minute of stoppage time.

    "I am very happy because it's not easy to find the rhythm, to play in this structure, and with many different players. But after 15 minutes, we find the good tempo," said Tuchel, whose PSG have failed to score only once in their past 39 away encounters in Ligue 1.

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    PSG top the standings by four points ahead of Marseille, though they have played two games more than their rivals.

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    Kylian Mbappe felt liberated after he ended his wait to move onto a century of goals for Paris Saint-Germain.

    France prodigy Mbappe reached 99 goals across all competitions for PSG when he scored a double against his former club Monaco in a 3-2 defeat on November 20.

    He failed to find the net in three appearances – against RB Leipzig, Bordeaux and Manchester United – before adding gloss to a 3-1 win over Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

    With Moise Kean having thumped PSG into the lead in the 77th minute, Mbappe came on to score with his only attempt and wrap up the points for Thomas Tuchel's side in stoppage time.

    The 21-year-old has netted 74 of his 100 PSG goals in France's top flight, with a further 13 strikes coming in the Champions League, though he has not scored in Europe in nine matches.

    His remaining 13 goals have come in France's domestic cup competitions and the Trophee des Champions, while he has only scored from outside the box in Ligue 1 on three occasions.

    "I knew my statistics, yes. It had been a few matches that I wanted to score the 100th," he told Canal+.

    "This one wasn't the hardest. It's a liberation, especially at a big club like this and all the great players who have been here. When I signed here, I never thought I'd score 100 goals so quickly. It was part of the distant objectives.

    "Thank you to my team-mates and to the club for giving me confidence, whether in good times or bad. Thank you to everyone who works there.

    "I think I can score even more, offer more assists. It will come with time. I'm feeling better and better and going through matches will allow me to be even better physically."

    Mbappe is joint fourth, alongside Dominique Rocheteau, in the list of PSG's leading goalscorers, behind Pauleta (109), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) and Edinson Cavani (200).

    "Score 200 goals with PSG? Who knows," said Mbappe, who has often been linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. "I never would have thought of 100 goals! You just have to think about the next game.

    "It's been three and a half years, and I've been through a lot here. It's great to have the support of the people."

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