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It would be a fair assessment to say the first leg of this tie did little to capture the imagination of even the most ardent football fan, with Marseilles taking a slim 1-0 lead to Italy following a late header from Andre Ayew. Both teams need this victory tonight to boost what has become a lacklustre and stuttering domestic campaign in their respective countries.
Inter are without Centre back Christian Chivu who is currently serving a ban. Meanwhile Wesley Sneijder looks set to continue his rehabilitation following two months out on the sidelines. Claudio Ranieri’s big decision is who to play up front, with Diego Milito, Diego Forlan and Giampaolo Pazzini all vying for a starting place.
Didier Deschamps has a fully fit squad to choose from with several key players returning to the fold. Loic Remy returned to action following a long standing shoulder injury on the weekend but whether he is immediately placed in the starting line up remains to be seen. Stephanie M’bia and Mathieu Valbuena are both returning from injury
Inter – Wesley Sneijder
It seems somewhat predictable to pick the Dutch wizard, but he is a crucial part of any team he is part of. There are few better footballers than him in the game and on his day, he is almost unplayable. Inter’s form has been poor by their high standards recently, also coupled with a two month injury lay off for Sneijder. The home side need goals and a spark of magic tonight. He could be the man to provide it for them
Marseilles – Steve Mandana
Marseilles last goal was Andre Ayew’s winner in the first leg of this game. They have failed to find the target in their four games since. With this barren spell in front of goal, huge reliance is going to fall onto the shoulders of the defence and in particular goalkeeper Mandana. Should he keep a clean sheet tonight, they are through. Therefore he is under big pressure to perform should the attack fire blank for the 5th consecutive game.
In a game that has the potential to be a season defining game for both sides, I believe that Inter will progress to the quarter finals. Inter’s home form has not been outstanding this season and as such, they will struggle to break down Marseille. My prediction is 1-0 Inter after normal time then for home side to grab another goal in extra time, although I won’t be surprised to see this game settled by spot kicks.