CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BETTING PREVIEW: ROUND OF 16

After a 149-day wait, Champions League betting returns with huge fixtures among European football’s elite. Manchester City take on Real Madrid at the Etihad, while Juventus look to overturn Lyon at the Allianz Stadium. 

With some of the greatest teams in the world set to lock horns, join us as we analyse exciting betting options for second leg fixtures of the round of 16.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BETTING

Juventus

Juventus have once again established themselves as the dominant force in Italian football, ending the season with their ninth Serie A Scudetto in a row. Although they finished their campaign just one point above their nearest rivals, Juventus found the time to rest key players during their final fixtures – with their attention already fixed on the Champions League.

The Bianconeri head into their Friday fixture in desperate need of goals; their 1-0 away loss in the first leg left them bloodied but not yet beaten. Having shown no signs of slowing down, Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line and look to add to his already impressive tally of 35 goals, with his chances of scoring calculated at 7/12 (1.58).

Sarri’s men will take nothing for granted this Friday, but they can take confidence from their incredible win record at home which has solidified their reputation as an exceptional team and established the Allianz Stadium as a fortress.

Lyon

Lyon attained their first-ever victory over the Italian champions last February courtesy of a left-footed effort by Lucas Tousart – upsetting the pre-match predictions and stunning both fans and pundits alike.

With the Ligue 1 season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Les Gones have enjoyed a long break which has allowed attacking talismans Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adelaide to recover from long-term knee injuries and possibly make the starting lineup this Friday.

Knowing that a clean sheet will see them through, but an away goal could make all the difference, Rudi Garcia may set his team up similarly to their Coupe de la Ligue final blueprint from last week. Having withstood a Paris Saint-Germain onslaught for 120 minutes, Lyon may look to emulate their counter-attacking strategy against the Italian champs and make use of their fast-breaking strikeforce to possibly clinch a historic result.

JUVENTUS VS LYON: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BETTING ODDS

Juventus come out as strong favourites, at 3/7 (1.43) to win, while Lyon sport odds of 33/5 (7.60) to once again upset the Italian champions.


Manchester City

Although they have secured silverware in the EFL Cup, disappointment in the Premier League and FA Cup has left Manchester City looking towards the Champions League as a way to finish their season with a bang.

The Citizens go into their fixture this Friday with a 2-1 advantage, having dismantled Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium – courtesy of goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne. City will face an entirely different beast this Friday, with the freshly-crowned La Liga champions the form team in Europe (alongside Bayern Munich) since the resumption of domestic action. Guardiola will be focused on shoring up a defence which has been guilty of costly errors on several occasions this season.

With Sergio Aguero’s ruled out of participation this Friday due to a knee injury, the pressure will be on Gabriel Jesus to deliver the goods at 10/11 (1.91) and see his side past the Spanish champions.

Real Madrid

Almost five months have passed since this fixture was initially due to take place; the Real Madrid team that visits the Etihad now is a different proposition to that from the first leg.

A disappointing 2-1 loss at home, which also saw the red card dismissal of their talismanic captain Sergio Ramos, haunts fans of Los Blancos. However, hope remains in the form of Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois who have both been vital in Real Madrid’s post-lockdown resurgence, leading their team from the back and front respectively.

Real Madrid will head into their fixture with the weight of their prestigious Champions League history heavy upon their shoulders. With their players knowing exactly what is expected when they put on the white shirt and represent Los Blancos, anything but a win for Zidane’s team will be deemed unacceptable.

MANCHESTER CITY VS REAL MADRID: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BETTING ODDS

As the home team, Manchester City are favourites, at 5/7 (1.71), to go on and win, with Real Madrid’s chances measured at 67/20 (4.35).


ENERGYBET

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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.

PREVIEW: SERIE A RETURN

Find out what’s still at stake when Italian football returns.

Authorities in Italy have allowed the continuation of Serie A, with Italian top-flight football returning to centre stage on 20 June. To make sure you’re armed with knowledge before you begin betting, we’ve put together this Serie A preview.

With more and more governing bodies seeing fit for sport to return to our screens, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) have finalised their plans to continue the Serie A 19/20 campaign. The first two fixtures – Torino vs. Parma and Cagliari vs. Verona – take place on 20 June.

A significant amount of time has passed since Italian clubs have been able to kick a ball and compete against each other. We’ll take a closer look into a highly-competitive Serie A table, where league glory, Champions League qualification and Europa league spots are still to on the line.

League title and the battle for the Champions League

Anyone with a passing knowledge of Serie A will not be surprised to find Juventus atop the table. What is of note though, is the fact that just one point separates them from rivals Lazio in second place. Sarri’s men are looking to secure the club’s eighth title in just as many years, solidifying a legacy worthy of the 35-time Serie A champions. For Juventus, it should be business as usual, with most at the club aware of what it takes to win another league.

Second-place Lazio will be eager to end the reign of the Bianconeri, as they find themselves within point-black range of Serie A’s top spot. Manager Filippo Inzaghi will have his work cut out for him to achieve his aim. Lazio find themselves travelling away from home a daunting seven times in their final fixtures, and have the most matches against clubs in the top eight.

After a flying start to the season, Inter find themselves well-secured in the third Champions League place. Eight points away from second place and six points away from fourth, the Nerazzurri are an island. However, with many fixtures still to be played and a lot of points up for grabs, an optimist might point to the potential of a top-of-the-table reshuffle. We’d say, don’t bet on it.

The final position for entry into the Champions League is currently held by a high-flying Atalanta team, who appear to be a club on the rise. Scoring an incredible 15 goals in their last three fixtures in all competitions, Atalanta will be eager to continue their form at the restart. Goals will be needed if they’re to push themselves away from the hungry chasing pack and secure their ticket into next year’s Champions League.

The fight for Europa League

We’ll continue our Serie A preview with Roma, who find themselves in fifth place on 45 points and in possession of a qualification spot into the Europa League. With a six-point gap to the team below them, Fonseca will keep his team’s attention on fourth-place Atalanta. Two points is a vulnerable advantage that the Giallorossi are more than capable of overcoming.

Napoli have had a difficult season and sit in sixth place in the Serie A table. Considered by many as the team that would normally take the fight to Juventus and push them hardest throughout the season, Napoli find themselves cut well and truly adrift. Qualification for the final Europa League is the height of their ambitions. The restart of Serie A does offer a chance for the team to reset themselves and get back on track, ready to challenge for bigger prizes next season.

The battle to avoid relegation

Brescia, SPAL and Lecce occupy in the relegation zone. While the writing may already be on the wall for Brescia and SPAL, who find themselves with 16 and 18 points respectively, Lecce have a chance to break out. Only three points separate them from 14th place, so Genoa, Sampdoria, Torino and Udinese will all be looking over their shoulder.

Serie A Betting

With Serie A coming back to our screens, why not take a look into all of the scheduled fixtures and markets available at EnergyBet. Join us as we enjoy all the best sporting competitions from around the world.  There’s plenty of other previews for you to enjoy too, as well as this Serie A preview.

Real Topple Italian Giants With Star Show

 

Real Madrid won their third Champions League crown in 4 years with an emphatic 4-1 win over Juventus at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

That man Cristiano Ronaldo notched a double as Real Madrid defeated 10-man Juventus to retain their Champions League crown and 12th win altogether including the old European Cup.

The Old Lady as Juventus are known appeared to prefer knitting over football as they conceded more goals in the Millennium Stadium in 90 minutes than in their entire campaign as veteran Italian keeper Buffon went home with hiss team destroyed.

You have to feel a bit sorry for him as two of those goals were cruel deflections as Ronaldo carried on his Roy of the Rovers exploits to gain another winners medal.

It was a cracking game in a first half that saw Ronaldo put Madrid ahead, becoming the first player to score in three different Champions League finals in the process and a lovely goal it was too. He rifled the ball past Buffon from 15 metres after a gorgeous 1-2 move, sadly for the Italian legend between the sticks it took a nasty deflection and Buffon had no chance..

Mario Mandzukic equalised for Juventus with a spectacular overhead kick that no-one will forget in a hurry.

Real Madrid dominated the second half as Juve fell part at the seams, Casemiro scoring with the help of another horrid deflection before Ronaldo made sure of the victory from close-range nipping in between two defenders and shooting in from 6 metres, ensuring he finishes above Lionel Messi as the competition’s top scorer this season.

Juventus substitute Juan Cuadrado was sent off 18 minutes after coming on, the winger receiving a second yellow card for a clash with Sergio Ramos, before Madrid substitute Marco Asensio put the icing on the cake in the last minute. Cuadrado sending off was a bit harsh for the ex Chelsea man as the Old Lady’s hopes went up in smoke.

Having also secured LaLiga glory, the win seals a famous double for Zinedine Zidane in his first full season at the helm, with Madrid the first side since AC Milan in 1990 to win back-to-back European crowns.

As for Juventus, who had been seeking a treble after winning Serie A and the Coppa Italia, have now lost five straight finals since last tasting continental success back in 1996, including two of the last three, having also lost to Barcelona in Berlin two years ago.

Former Madrid star Gonzalo Higuain tested Keylor Navas early on with a 25-yard drive, before the goalkeeper had to make a terrific one-handed save to keep out a powerful Miralem Pjanic strike from a similar distance.

Real Madrid took the lead though as Ronaldo capping a slick passing move. Karim Benzema and Ronaldo were both involved in the build-up before Dani Carvajal’s cut-back led to the Portugal international producing an impressive first-time finish, finding the far corner from the edge of the area with the help of a deflection off Leonardo Bonucci.

However the game swung back to Juve just seven minutes later. Bonucci’s pass from defence was helped on by both Alex Sandro and Higuain to set up Mandzukic and the Croatia international took one touch and unfurled a magnificent overhead kick into the top corner, with Navas not close to it. Talk about a beauty!

Ronaldo had a chance to hit back, but he misjudged an attempted diving header from Isco’s cross as an entertaining first half ended level at 1-1.

Luka Modric tested Gianluigi Buffon with a left-footed strike from outside the box as Madrid made a faster start to the second half.

And Zidane’s men retook the lead just after the hour mark when Toni Kroos had a shot blocked and Casemiro latched on to the loose ball 35 yards out, firing in a shot which took a huge deflection off Sami Khedira to deceive Buffon.

With Juve shell-shocked, Madrid struck again just three minutes later. Modric played a one-two with Carvajal, latching on to the full-back’s return pass down the right and digging out a superb cross, allowing Ronaldo to nip ahead of a stationary Bonucci and prod in from inside the six-yard box.

Juve brought on Cuadrado, Mario Lemina and Claudio Marchisio as they attempted to reverse the momentum, while Gareth Bale was introduced for Madrid in his home city.

The Italian champions needed a superb intervention from Bonucci to stop Bale from tapping in a Ronaldo cross, before coming close themselves when Alex Sandro’s glancing header fell just wide from Dani Alves’ free-kick.

Then we hit pantomime season as a bad night for Juve got worse with six minutes to go when Cuadrado, already booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo, saw red after Ramos went down like Emile Heskey doing a paper round., the Colombia international having lightly pushed him and made minimal contact with his foot. Ramos will later receive a BAFTA award for overacting.

Madrid wrapped up a famous triumph in the final minute when Asensio – eight minutes after coming on – slotted in left-footed from eight yards after superb work from Marcelo down the left in an emphatic triumph for Zidane.

The plaudits will no doubt go to Mr Ronaldo who has now scored at least twice as many Champions League goals as any other player in the quarter-final stage (20), semi-final stage (13) and final of the competition (4).

So Real Madrid were worthy winners but Juve will feel hard done by thanks to two large defections and a sending off that never should have been.

Gianluigi Buffon was the third oldest player to feature in a European Cup final (39y 126d) after Dino Zoff and Edwin van der Sar but his dream turned into a nightmare as the Old Lady had her zimmer frame taken from beneath her by the Spanish giants.

Congratulations Real Madrid.



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