MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) runs the rule over Thursday night’s Copa del Rey quarter-final second legs in Spain.
Mirandes v Sevilla | Thursday 19.00
Sevilla made a wretched start to 2015/16. Their extra-time defeat to Barcelona in the European Super Cup from August set off a run of results that left Los Rojiblancos stranded in 11th and out of the Champions League (W5-D3-L9).
But Unai Emery’s men have clicked impressively into gear to take 31 points from their next 16 games. On Sunday they held out for a 0-0 draw at previous pace-setters Atletico Madrid despite playing the final half hour with 10 men and their head coach sent to the stands.
However, the Andalusians remain woeful travellers. That point means Sevilla have collected 27 of their 33 points on home soil and Thursday night’s guests are still one of only two clubs yet to win on the road (W0-D6-L4) in the top-flight this term.
Los Rojiblancos have scored just five goals on their travels, firing blanks in five of their 10 away trips and are yet to score more than a solitary goal in a game. Eight of the visitors’ 10 away days fell below the 2.5 goals line and they’ve yet to visit Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Celta Vigo or Athletic Bilbao.
Sevilla’s La Liga home record since the start of last season (W22-D5-L3) is as good as any in Spain and a routine 2-0 victory over Mirandes at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last week fully justified their 1/5 odds to clinch a first leg lead. The Andalusians out-shot the Seguna side 23-7 and 11-1 in on-target attempts.
Now the top tier club are looking to secure their place in the semi-finals and can be backed at 17/20 (Betfred) to progress with another success in the second leg. Emery fielded a strong team that included Kevin Gameiro, Yevhen Konoplyank and Vicente Iborra in the first leg and with victories in each of their last three trips to lower division clubs, Sevilla will have their supporters.
But I’m going to get involved with Both Teams To Score at 10/11 with William Hill. Why? Well I reckon Mirandes can get on the scoresheet – only six Segunda sides have fired in more shots than Carlos Terrazas’s troops and they tend to relish the role of underdogs and counter-attacking football.
The BTTS bet has already banked in previous Copa del Rey rounds when welcoming Malaga, Deportivo and Osasuna to their tiny Estadio Municipal de Anduva home and Los Rojillos are the most Both Teams To Score friendly side in the second tier with 14/22 (64%) winners already this term.
Terrazas’s team are built on local players. They’re brave, they look to play attractive football and they’ve only failed to net in 6/29 (21%) fixtures across all competitions this season. With Sevilla already holding a two-goal advantage, Mirandes must score to keep their slim hopes of a semi-final spot alive.
Las Palmas v Valencia | Thursday 20.00
Two points from a possible 12 have left Las Palmas cemented in the La Liga relegation zone but the Canary Islanders have been great fun to follow in recent weeks.
On Monday the newly-promoted club went down 3-2 at rock-bottom Levante and Quique Setien’s men have seen Over 2.5 Goals land in four of their last five league fixtures now with only three clubs stopping the Yellows from scoring in 12.
I’d back the hosts to extend that impressive record on Thursday night as they lock horns with Valencia for the third occasion in two months. The previous two meetings ended in 1-1 stalemates and although Las Palmas failed to land a first-half shot last week at the Mestalla, they did out-shoot Los Che 18-9 on the same ground back in November.
There’s a smattering of talented attacking players in the home ranks and it’s interesting to note, the Yellows have enjoyed a greater share of total shots-on-target in La Liga encounters since promotion than their more illustrious visitors.
Valencia remain winless under Gary Neville in league action following a 1-1 draw with Depor, leaving the new boss with a W3-D6-L3 record in all competitions – the three triumphs were secured in the Copa del Rey, one of which came at Granada.
But it’s difficult to find any faith in Los Che right now. They’re lacking cohesion, balance and seemingly an identity too. So with neither side trustworthy but featuring heavily in the Both Teams To Score ranks, it may pay to have a wee wager on BetVictor’s 18/5 on a Draw and Both Teams To Score.
It’s a selection that’s landed in eight of Valencia’s last 16 matches as well as well as four of Las Palmas’ previous 10. If we take each teams’ previous 16 outings, this bet has banked on 13/32 (40%) occasions and that percentage implies betting odds of 6/4, so it’s a nice value bet for interest.
Mirandes v Sevilla – Both Teams To Score (10/11 William Hill)
Las Palmas v Valencia – Draw and Both Teams To Score (18/5 BetVictor)
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