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Atletico hope to keep recent Madrid derby form going

La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid have won the last two derbies in the Spanish capital – both were at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid look up enviously at them from third place, but could take that out on their rivals in the Copa del Rey semi-final.

Can Diego Simeone’s side make it three on the spin against Real when the two neighbours meet in this first leg? A 10/3 price is well worth taking. Last season Atletico came from behind in the final of this competition to deny then-Real boss Jose Mourinho the trophy.

Prior to those consecutive Atletico wins, however, Real recorded 10 straight derby victories. Carlo Ancelotti’s team are odds-on favourites at 17/20, with 5/2 on the Madrid heavyweights to be all square going into the second leg at the Vicente Calderon next week.

Diego Costa has scored two in his last two starts against Real. Atletico’s goal burden is likely to fall on him as strike partner David Villa is doubtful with a thigh problem picked up in their last outing – a 4-0 win over Real Sociedad. Brazilian-born Spain striker Costa is 13/8 to score at anytime with Coral and an industry-leading 6/1 to get the opener.

Real boss Carlo Ancleotti is set to unleash star duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale here, however. Portugal captain Ronaldo was sent off in the draw with Basque outfit Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, but his three-match ban applies to league games only.

Former Manchester United man Ronaldo has seven goals in his last five appearances against Atletico, and is odds-on at 4/7 to score anytime and 3/1 to score first – another best price. He is 12/1 to hit a hat-trick, which he did in this fixture in April 2012.

Wales winger Bale meanwhile has had trouble with injuries since joining Real from Tottenham for a reported world record fee. A calf problem kept him out of the Bilbao game, but he has still got eight goals and nine assists in all competitions. Bale is 7/4 to break his Copa del Rey duck against Atletico.

Six of the last nine Madrid derbies have contained three goals or more, including two 4-1 wins and a 3-1 victory for Real. Punters may thus fancy odds of 12/5 on over 3.5 goals being the total scored here.
Four goals or more to go in is a 21/10 shot whilst exactly three – three of the last seven meetings have contained this number – is 3/1. Should Real repeat the derby thumpings of 2011/12, Ancelotti’s team are 10/1 to net four or more themselves.

Atletico are an attractive 4/1 to pull off a second clean sheet of the campaign at the Bernabeu. The time of the first goal may be punters’ best bet though as this has happened in the 11-20 minutes bracket in three of the last four encounters – a 15/4 chance.