IT’S semi-final time in the Champions League. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) takes a look at the Juventus v Real Madrid opening leg for us.
Juventus v Real Madrid | Tuesday 19:45 | ITV1
It’s a stellar line up in the Champions League semi-final and the opening match brings together the 1998 finalists as Juventus host Real Madrid. Madrid won that night and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did again here on Tuesday.
Throw stones and custard pies at me if you want, but I’m still not massively convinced by Juventus. Apart from their exploits it’s not been a great Champions League season for Italy again. Napoli lost in the pre-group play-off round while Roma were ripped apart by Bayern Munich and exited in the group stages.
As we’ve seen in Serie A (Juventus have just clinched their fourth successive title) the Old Lady are a cut above these sides though and that has to be respected. Their European season still hasn’t been straight-forward though.
It’s not inconceivable to suggest that Massimo Allegri’s side could have got knocked out in the group stages, in fact if Olympaikos had beaten the group minnows Malmo in Sweden then that would have been reality. They didn’t though, and despite two defeats in their six matches Juventus went through.
The real shining beacon of their European season was their destructive dominant display against Borussia Dortmund. A 2-1 win in Turin was then trumped by a stunning 3-0 win in Germany in the second leg. It certainly did rip the heart out of Jurgen Klopp’s relationship with the Bundesliga club.
Onto the quarter-final and a flat, tight, terse two legged victory over Monaco by an aggregate score of one goal to nil saw them into the last four, but should we have expected more against this Monaco side? Perhaps.
Real Madrid have had a stuttering season. The first half of the campaign saw them at their glorious best, dominating La Liga and winning all six matches in their Champions League group. That fluency has been compromised in 2015 though with a shocking 4-0 loss to Atletico Madrid in February and just one win in the month of March.
The knockout stages of this competition have been equally nail-biting. After winning 2-0 in Schalke in the Last 16 opener, they then lost 4-3 at the Bernabeu in the return leg. Erratic behaviour.
The quarter-finals saw them up against neighbours Atletico in a chess-like affair which saw Real creep through 1-0 on aggregate. With Atletico taking four points of six from Juventus in the group stages, could we see something similar here?
With regard to this match I just wonder if Carlo Ancelotti will be gunning for an away goal after the experiences of the last round against Atletico. Drawing 0-0 at the Calderon left them vulnerable and he may wish to avoid that feeling again. Juventus on the other hand would be happy with a 0-0 draw I think.
At 17/10 to win in Italy, I’m happy to give Real a swerve here on the Match Prices market but I will support them on the Asian Handicap. At -0.25 I can back them at 6/5 with Bet365 and that suits me.
This means half my stake goes on Real -0 (if they draw I get my stake back) and the other half on Real -0.5 (they must win for this half stake to pay out), essentially meaning that I’ll only suffer a half loss if it’s a draw.
Juventus v Real Madrid – Real Madrid -0.25 Asian Handicap (6/5 Bet365)
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