Africans in UEFA Champions League action – Tuesday, February 12
Tottenham Hotspur’s Serge Aurier during the Premier League match at Wembley Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday December 13, 2017. See PA story SOCCER Tottenham. Photo credit should read: Nigel French/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications
Tuesday Feb 13, 2018. 09:30
Tonight’s UEFA Champions League action will give a chance for Ivorians Serge Aurier and Serey Die to shine for Tottenham Hotspur and FC Basel respectively.
The prestigious continental competition will open the last 16 round this evening with two first-leg ties, as Juventus host Tottenham and Manchester City head to Switzerland to take on Basel – both games kick off at 21h45 CAT.
In Turin, last season’s runners-up Juventus can call on Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah and Moroccan defender Mehdi Benatia, though only the latter saw playing time in their last match, a 2-0 Serie A win away to Fiorentina last Friday.
Spurs, depending on the formation fielded by manager Mauricio Pochettino, may feature Serge Aurier, a player who has plenty of Champions League experience from his time at Paris Saint-Germain and would give the English side greater attacking impetus down the right flank as compared to fellow right-back Kieran Trippier.
The Londoners may also call on Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama, who has played in their last three matches (once as a starter, twice as a sub) and made a successful return from a long-term injury absence.
At St Jakob Park, Ivorian midfielder Serey Die and his Basel teammates face a tough test of their skills when they host a rampant Manchester City. The Premier League leaders are heavily favoured to advance in this tie and Basel will need to make the most of home advantage in the first leg if they are to have any chance of an upset.
Die himself will likely be tasked with keeping track of City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who is enjoying the best season of his career and has emerged as a surprise contender for Ballon d’Or honours.