While most domestic soccer leagues take a break there’s still plenty of round-ball action to enjoy and bet on with the rearranged UEFA Champions League matches taking place over the weekend as the premier European clubs’ competition tries to make up ground lost from the Covid-19 lockdown.
Two Champions League matches are played on Friday with the pick of them undoubtedly coming from Manchester’s Etihad Stadium where Manchester City host Real Madrid and will be defending a narrow 2-1 advantage from the first leg back in February.
The other Champions League match to be played on Friday sees Italian giants Juventus hosting French cracks Lyon at the Allianz Juventus Stadium with the home side looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit having tasted defeat in France when the teams last played.
MANCHESTER CITY V REAL MADRID BETTING TIPS
Real Madrid will face no easy task in Manchester, but Zinedane Zidane’s side are in a much better place now than they were in February and their form has improved massively.
Manchester City meanwhile have been inconsistent in the English Premiership since the restart, losing in the FA Cup semi-final to eventual winners Arsenal although they ended the normal season with a thumping 5-0 victory over relegated Norwich City.
Manager Pep Guardiola though has yet to guide any of his teams past the quarter-final stage so the path to the next round may not be quite so simple for the Citizens who face a Real Madrid side who can bestow another unwelcome stat on the home side – Manchester City have one just one of their five two-legged knockout ties when playing Spanish opposition.
That may lay heavily on the head of Guardiola although most of those defeats came when playing the second leg away from home. But they take on a Real Madrid side whose post-lockdown form saw them win ten straight games before drawing their final domestic campaign match 2-2 in July.
That form saw them reclaim the La Liga title from Barcelona by a healthy five points and they will travel to the Etihad a fresher team having had a longer break between matches. Their European form has been consistently of a high level through the years however, despite failing to qualify for the semi-finals last season, and the Spaniards have won eight of their last 12 two-legged ties against English sides and have won their last seven away matches at this stage of the competition.
KEY ABSENCES FOR BOTH SIDES
Both teams come into the semi-final with notable absences; for Manchester City, they will be without talismanic striker Sergio Aguero, while Benjamin Mendy misses out through suspension.
Real Madrid meanwhile will miss the presence of Sergio Ramos at the heart of their defensive line with the inspirational captain sidelined having been sent off in the first leg.
SPANIARDS SHADE HEAD-TO-HEAD
This will be the sixth time these two side have met in the competition with Real Madrid holding the better record with two victories in the tie, while the pair have shared the spoils twice also before Manchester City scored their first win against the Spanish giants back in February.
BIG MATCH VERDICT
Providing the longer break hasn’t taken off an edge, Real Madrid come into this match in solid form as they bid to overturn their first leg deficit; while Manchester City have had quite a punishing schedule and haven’t had a great deal of time from their last match against Norwich to prepare for this second leg.
The match itself looks a very close one on paper and it is Manchester City who hold the advantage courtesy of their two away goals scored in the first leg. Real Madrid then will have to open up and chase the game knowing they need to score at least twice without response.
With Sergio Ramos missing, the Real Madrid defence might struggle against the City frontline who despite missing Sergio Aguero remain a potent and formidable spearhead and it could be enough to swing the balance of power in their favour.
The home team are taken to prevail and advance to the quarter-finals at the expense of the visiting Spaniards in a closely-fought affair with both teams finding the net.
MANCHESTER CITY V REAL MADRID BETTING TIPS RECOMMENDATION
Bet 1: Manchester City to win, both teams to score, over 3 match goals @ +333 (Bet365)
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