Our man at Santiago Bernabeu, Phil Kitromilides, explains why few goals should be expected in the first 45 minutes of Saturday’s Liga clash
If Real Madrid are to be crowned champions of Spain then this might just be the decisive weekend, with los Blancos hosting Osasuna and current leaders Atletico facing a tough trip to Valencia.
Madrid need Atletico to drop points but they also need to win themselves, although that is unlikely to be a problem despite this game coming in the middle of their Champions League semi-final tie with Bayern Munich.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men were defensively supreme on Wednesday against the Bundesliga champions and they are priced at just 1/20 (1.05) to record a win against the team from Pamplona.
Osasuna, for their part, are offered at 25/1 (26.00) with the draw available at 11/1 (12.00).
Given their upcoming European commitments on Tuesday it looks likley that some players will be rested by Ancelotti, although a squad as strong as Madrid’s should be able to cope at home without some of their top players against relegation-candidates Osasuna.
Yet it might not be an explosive performance from the hosts, and as such backing under 1.5 goals in the first half at 5/4 (2.20) looks like a tempting option.
This bet has paid out in each of the last four visits of bottom-half teams to the Bernabeu (Elche, Levante, Rayo Vallecano and Almeria) and while Madrid have won all of those games comfortably, the goals have tended to come in the second period. Against a goal-shy Osasuna outfit, backing another low-scoring opening 45 minutes appeals.
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