Copa del Rey holders face tough turnaround against Atletico
Copa del Rey holders Real Madrid, odds-on 4/9 to win La Liga, will have a two-goal deficit to overturn when they host Spanish capital rivals Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their round of 16 tie.
Diego Simeone’s side triumphed in last week’s first leg at the Vicente Calderon, with second-half strikes from Raul Garcia and Jose Maria Gimenez earning the reigning Spanish top-flight champions a 2-0 victory.
Atletico’s latest Copa conquest over Carlo Ancelotti’s Champions League holders was their third successive win against their local rivals in all competitions. With a two-goal lead to defend, they will be confident of progressing to the quarter-final stage, and are 5/1 to emerge from the Bernabeu victorious.
Simeone’s men have already toppled Madrid on two other occasions this season, first securing the Spanish Super Cup last August before edging their last league meeting with a 2-1 result.
Cristiano Ronaldo was this week crowned the world’s best footballer, receiving the coveted Ballon d’Or award for his achievements last year. Madrid’s main man netted a penalty against Atleti earlier in the term, and is 7/2 to bag a brace or more this time out.
Ancelotti left Portugal’s superstar on the bench for the first hour of last week’s first leg, but has since promised to field a full strength starting line-up for the second leg. Both managers have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the crucial cup clash.
Atletico suffered a disappointing domestic defeat to Barcelona in their last league outing, leaving them third in the table, three points behind their conquerors and four adrift of Real, who have played a game less.
Fernando Torres made a winning comeback to his boyhood club in that first leg victory, coming on after 59 minutes but failing to make an impact on proceedings. The 30-year-old former Premier League hitman is 10/3 to score his first goal anytime since returning to the club from AC Milan.
Following Madrid’s magnificent 22-match winning streak, La Liga leaders Real have lost 2-1 to Valencia before stumbling to their first leg defeat.
However, Ancelotti’s team bounced back last week with a 3-0 league win over Espanyol, and have incredibly struck 59 times in 17 league fixtures this season. With this in mind, they will not be disheartened by a starting 2-0 deficit in their second leg encounter, with the holders available at 2/1 to score two or more goals.