Copa Del Rey Betting: Barcelona v Real Madrid Preview


After drawing 1-1 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, Barcelona and Real Madrid reconvene at the Camp Nou in the first of another El Clasico "mini series". The sides meet again in La Liga at the weekend, meaning there will be few secrets left between Jose Mourinho and Barca assistant Jordi Ruora.

Team news

Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas and Xavi were all rested at the weekend, meaning a good chunk of Barcelona's side will be fit and raring to go ahead of this one. Utility defender Adriano has been troubled by a hamstring problem of late, but Ruora has few concerns. Mourinho welcomes back Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema after injury, while Sergio Ramos will also feature following his suspension in the first leg. Kaka's fine display against Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend could see him earn a rare start in place of Angel Di Maria.


Form

Barcelona have not been their usual imperious selves of late, going down to Milan in the Champions League and making hard work of recent domestic games. While Leo Messi can be excused a poor performance once in a while, other attackers such as Alexis Sanchez and David Villa simply have to step up to the plate more regularly. Real are reeling in city rivals Atletico in the standings, but themselves looked far from their best against Manchester United a fortnight ago. Could the crown be slipping for two of the world's best-supported sides?


Head-to-head

These two must be sick of the sight of one another by now, having met no fewer than six times in 2012. alone. That series ended all square (two wins apiece, two draws), suggesting that these two have tended to cancel each other out in recent times. For betting purposes, the crucial fact is that both teams have scored in their last 11 wins. Back that to happen again at 1.38.


Goalscorer betting

There are no prizes for guessing who the favourites are in the goalscorer markets. Lionel Messi (3.30 to score first, 1.60 anytime) is the pick for Barcelona, but even he cannot match Cristiano Ronaldo's strike rate in Clasicos. The Portuguese attacker hit seven goals against Barcelona last year alone, and can be backed at 9.00 to score a header at Camp Nou.


Verdict

In front of their home fans, and particularly following their humbling in Milan, Barcelona will be desperate to get back on track. Real, though, have little to play for in the league, and will be similarly motivated. The circumstances suggest this could be a hard-fought affair, with extra time and penalties a real possibility. Draw/draw HT/FT could represent value at 6.75, while Real look big at 2.90 to qualify.


Score prediction: Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (8.25) and Real Madrid to progress after extra time.