8/11 Real Madrid capable of triumph in Turkey without Ramos and Alonso
The fact that key Real Madrid players Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos picked up suspension-garnering yellow cards deemed by some to be ‘tactical’ late on in their 3-0 first leg success might be deemed a reason to back Galatasaray in the betting for their Champions League second leg clash, but Los Merengues’ record without the pair is more than encouraging enough to suggest backing them for the win in Turkey at 8/11 with Coral.
Jose Mourinho has yet to see his side lose in the 21 games in which one or both of the influential pair haven’t started this season.
In the previous round Bayern Munich served both Real and punters a timely reminder of the potentially negative effects of a commanding first leg win on the psyche of even the biggest clubs when they lost their return match with Arsenal 2-0 in Germany.
However this is a Madrid team who hammered Levante 5-1 at the weekend and could be in their “best form of the season” according to Champions League leading goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo – 4/7 to finish the tournament with more goals than any of his illustrious contemporaries.
Indeed Real have prevailed in nine of their last 10 in all competitions, but whilst they are winning games they have returned to a policy of goal a game concession after a run of five clean sheets in six, shipping a goal in each of their last six outings – Coral make it 4/6 that both teams notch at the Turk Telecom Arena.
If European results are anything to go by it could be that the Istanbul club’s new stadium lacks something of the intimidating atmosphere Al Sami Yen arena that so affected Manchester United back in the “Welcome To Hell” days of 1993. Gala have won just one of their four ECL home games this term – a group game against an already qualified Manchester United – and conceded in each of those other three matches.
The poor away form that meant Los Blancos’ Primera Liga title defence was over before it had really begun has been banished to the dustbin of history in recent weeks, with four wins – including a Champions League win at Old Trafford – in their last five road games and with Galatasaray needing to attack from the off in order to stand a chance of overcoming the 3-0 aggregate deficit, there will be space aplenty from which Real’s marauding forwards may profit.