MATCHDAY: Madrid, Napoli look to advance in Champions League

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



Real Madrid will defend a three-goal lead for the round-of-16 second leg against Liverpool after a shock 5-2 win in England, where the defending champions rallied from an early 2-0 deficit. No away team has ever erased a three-goal loss from the first leg in the Champions League, and only five times the team that lost at home rallied in the second leg. Manchester United was the only one to overcome a two-goal deficit — in 2019 against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16. Madrid is coming off a win against Espanyol in the Spanish league, while Liverpool lost at relegation-threatened Bournemouth to hurt its chances of moving closer to the top four in the Premier League.


Napoli has been handed a triple boost ahead of the round-of-16 second leg against Eintracht Frankfurt as Kim Min-jae, Alex Meret and Hirving Lozano all returned to training. Kim had a calf problem and came off in Napoli’s 2-0 win over Atalanta on Saturday but should be back to lead the defense. Meret and Lozano missed the match with slight injuries. Napoli has a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Germany and is trying to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in its history. Frankfurt faces a tough task to keep its Champions League hopes alive without the suspended Randal Kolo Muani, after the French forward was sent off in the first leg. Colombian striker Rafael Borré is expected to start in his place.


Istanbul Basaksehir or Gent will become the first team to reach the quarterfinals. They are playing the second leg of their round-of-16 matchup, with the teams locked at 1-1 after the first match last week. The rest of the Conference League and Europa League games in the round of 16 take place Thursday.


Southampton can climb out of the Premier League's relegation zone with a home win over Brentford in one of two midweek games. Southampton has improved defensively since Rubén Sellés replaced the fired Nathan Jones as manager last month, keeping three clean sheets in his four league games in charge. Two of the shutouts were at Chelsea and Manchester United. The team is in last place but will climb at least four spots with a win at St. Mary's stadium against ninth-place Brentford. The fight to avoid relegation could be the most intense in years, with the bottom nine teams — up to 12th-place Crystal Palace — separated by five points. Palace, which visits Brighton in the other game, hasn't had a shot on target in its last three league matches. Brighton is in seventh place and could move tied for points with Liverpool in sixth with a win.


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The Associated Press