Expect another Spanish Inquisition as Atletico set to beat AC Milan
Since last lifting the European Cup in 2007, AC Milan have beaten Spanish opposition just twice in 15 Champions League attempts. Of those, only one came away from the San Siro, but Rossoneri fans will take comfort from the fact that was in Madrid.
Current Milan coach Clarence Seedorf played in that 3-2 victory over Real at the Bernabeu back in October 2009. A repeat result, which would see Milan advance on away goals, across the Spanish capital at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon is a 70/1 shot here.
There is no getting away from the fact, however, that the Rossoneri’s recent record when playing at a La Liga club is pathetic. In away games on this constituent part of the Iberian Peninsula, Milan have since scored a mere four goals from six visits.
Atletico’s recent form when paired with Italian opposition contrasts sharply with this. Since regaining top-flight status, they have won four out of five matches with Serie A sides. Madrid have also kept clean sheets in both home games played, so back them to win to nil at 13/10.
Diego Simeone has talented Uruguay international and namesake Diego Godin to come back into defence, which only strengthens their chances of shutting Milan out. Turkey winger Arda Turan, a reported long-term Liverpool target, should also return.
Simeone gave his star striker Diego Costa a rest last time out with this Rossoneri encounter in mind. Back the Brazilian-born frontman, who is currently the difference between the two sides to score first at 10/3.
David Villa delivered in his absence, bagging a brace away at Celta Vigo. He has two in three against the Rossoneri and has never lost to them. Villa is a tempting 6/1 shot with Coral to net two or more again here.
Perhaps Mario Balotelli, who returned off the bench in the defeat to an Udinese outfit which has sold almost all its star names of recent season, can conjure something mercurial for Milan. The firebrand Italian attacker is 2/1 for a goal anytime.
Seedorf has minor doubts over midfielder pair Andrea Poli and Nigel de Jong, while captain Riccardo Montolivo remains banned and forward Stephan El Shaarawy is still missing.
A deficit of one away goal is certainly possible for the Rossoneri to turnaround, but their woeful return from Spanish trips really does make this highly improbable. Coral agrees with this judgment as Milan are 13/2 outsiders to win in Madrid and 7/2 shots to qualify for the quarters.
There’s also a compelling case for Atletico being odds-on at 4/9 for victory in this second leg and to advance from the tie 1/12. Bet now on a comfortable 2-0 win for Simeone and the hosts at 6/1.