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Take your pick of Barcelona or Man City megastars to open scoring

| 18.03.2015

The Champions League round-of-16 second-leg between Barcelona and Manchester City promises goals as the visitors must go hunting and leave themselves vulnerable to being picked off in the process, but who will grab the first of the game?

Whatever your initial thoughts, they are sure to contain the name Lionel Messi and quite possibly that of Sergio Aguero as well.

This is great news for those in possession of a Ladbrokes account as the bookmakers are taking a substantial risk by enhancing both Argentine aces to break the deadlock.

Messi will be bumped up to 4/1, from 3/1, while Aguero’s odds of 8/1 were already sounding meaty before getting boosted to a whopping 10/1 to silence the Camp Nou.

Having uncharacteristically fluffed his lines from the spot with the final act of Barca’s 2-1 Etihad victory in the first leg, Messi will be all pumped up to right those wrongs.

Given the four-time Ballon d’Or winner has racked up six goals in a quartet of fixtures for the club since, it suggests any problem with his aim in Manchester was merely momentary.

The freak of footballing nature that is Messi has also buried two penalties in that run just for good measure and now stands on a remarkable tally of 43 goals from 39 Blaugrana appearances this season.

It is fair to say that Aguero’s own tally of 23 in 32 City outings is modest in comparison, though his typically instinctive finish in the first leg took him to a laudable total of six goals in the 2014/15 Champions League.

Aguero has proved he’s a City player capable of rising to the big occasions in the past and if Manuel Pellegrini’s men are to get back into the tie with an early onslaught, there’s no better vehicle than their number 16.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.