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26.4. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL BETTING PREVIEW

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19:45 MANCHESTER CITY - REAL MADRID

The stakes are getting higher. The spots for the Champions League final are up for grabs. The semi-finals kick-off on Tuesday with Manchester City - Real Madrid. City defeated French giants PSG in the quarter-finals, achieving their first semi-final appearance in the competition. Meanwhile, Real Madrid defeated Wolfsburg to get this far. It wasn't all plain sailing for Los Blancos, as the Germans held a 2-0 lead in the tie after the first leg. However, Real showed their true colours at the Santiage Bernabeu, where they won 3-0 and progressed due to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick.

First leg hosts City have picked up a good run of form in the spring. The Blues struggled in February and March due to the high number of injuries to key players, which meant Manuel Pellegrini's men got left out of the Premier League title race. After the sick bay emptied out, their form has been great, as they're undefeated in their seven previous matches in all competitions. These seven games have brought five wins and two draws with 17 goals scored and only 4 conceded! Kevin de Bruyne's return in particular has had a revitalizing effect on City's attacking play.

Despite City's impressive form, Madrid don't shrink in comparison. Zinedine Zidane's men have only been defeated once in their last twelve, that loss being the 2-0 upset against Wolfsburg. Admittedly, they struggled at Vallecano last weekend when the hosts raced to a 2-0 lead. However, Los Blancos gathered themselves and came back to win 2-3. Tonight's visitors have won their last five games, scoring 18 and only conceding three times in the process, although their opponents haven't exactly been football's A-listers.

Real come into the match with a couple of injury doubts. Their number one striker Karim Benzema limped off in the first half against Vallecano, while Ronaldo missed the match completely due to a hamstring strain. Although Zidane expects both to be available, neither may necessarily start or be at 100%. It's clear that Real's attack isn't the same without the two stars on the pitch. Meanwhile, City rested club captain Vincent Kompany and de Bruyne in Saturday's match against Stoke, but both players should be fit to play in tonight's clash of the titans. The same goes for Raheem Sterling, who has recovered from a groin problem. Only Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri are absent for the Blues, as Toure suffered a muscle injury late against Stoke and Nasri was left out of City's spring squad for the Champions League by Pellegrini. This means that Nasri won't be able to play in any matches in the CL this season, even if he were fit.

Although City have raised their game back to their usual level, are Real still clear favourites to reach the final. Zidane's men are far more experienced in these kind of matches, while this is completely new ground for the club from Manchester. Madrid boast plenty of players who raise their game on occasions like this, the best example of this being their attacking triumvirate of Ronaldo-Benzema-Gareth Bale. These three have bailed Real out in many a tough match, the most recent example of this being Ronaldo's hat-trick when Real had their backs against the wall in the quarter-finals.

City's Sergio Aguero and de Bryune also have the ability to settle games with their own individual brilliance, but this time the whole team will have to deliver if they want to progress to the final. If Real's level is as inconsistent as it has been in some games, the Blues could definitely cause an upset. However, if Real's star men turn up they'll be a tough side to defeat.

Manchester City's last five matches:

23.4.2016 Man City - Stoke 4-0

19.4.2016 Newcastle - Man City 1-1

16.4.2016 Chelsea - Man City 0-3

12.4.2016 Man City - PSG 1-0

9.4.2016 Man City - West Bromwich

Real Madrid's last five matches:

23.4.2016 Vallecano - Real Madrid 2-3

20.4.2016 Real Madrid - Villareal 3-0

16.4.2016 Getafe - Real Madrid 1-5

12.4.2016 Real Madrid - Wolfsburg 3-0

9.4.2016 Real Madrid - Eibar 4-0

Betting Tips:

Real won't come to Manchester to defend, as they desperately want an all-important away goal. With both teams boasting attacking talent worth hundreds of millions of pounds, a goalless match would be a huge surprise. The odds for over-bets look good in comparison and form a crucial part of our betting plans for tonight.

** Both teams to score: 61/100 ComeOn!

** Over 2.5 goals: 19/25 Unibet

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