Prediction & odds for the game: Atalanta (13/10) v Real Madrid (15/8) – ST is backing the draw
When: Wednesday, 24th February @ 8pm K.O
Where: Gewiss Stadium
Atalanta and Real Madrid will meet in the first leg of their RO16 tie this week as they battle for a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Atalanta have been one of the rising forces in Italian football for the last few years now, but you could argue they’ve done some of their most impressive work in the UEFA Champions League. As a club, Atalanta has gone out there and produced great performance after great performance in the name of proving to the rest of Europe why they should be so feared. Now, we don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest they could progress into the quarter-finals here.
After a tough three-game spell in which they lost to Lazio and drew with Napoli and Torino, Atalanta have shown real resilience over the course of the last two weeks. They beat Napoli in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final to reach the final, they beat Cagliari in the league and they then overcame Napoli once again – this time in a 4-2 Serie A triumph.
Zinedine Zidane may be dragging this Real Madrid team back into the title race, but it’s worth remembering that Atletico Madrid are still very much the leading contenders in the fight to win the La Liga crown. In the Champions League, though, all bets are off, especially in the midst of such uncertain times with travel restrictions being put in place. If Real can edge past Atlanta, they’ve got to be seen as one of the favourites to go all the way.
With a nice win over Alaves being followed by a tough 2-1 slip-up against Levante, Real clearly needed to mix things up. In February, they’ve done just that, winning four on the bounce with victories over SD Huesca, Getafe, Valencia and Real Valladolid.
Real would likely be the favourites under normal circumstances but even with their strong recent run of form, we just feel like Atalanta are going to put up a real fight in the first leg. They’ll want to have something to fight for when they make the trip over to the Bernabeu, and even though we don’t think they’ve got enough in the tank to secure a win heading into that game, we do think they’ll be able to come away with a draw.
Our official scoreline prediction is going to be 1-1, ensuring we stick to the under 2.5 goals marker – but we do think there’s going to be an awful lot of exciting football on display.
Verdict: Back the draw at odds of 11/4 and the under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 13/10 (All odds are taken from bet365).
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