Copa del Rey
Barcelona and Real Madrid meet tonight in the semi-final second leg of the Copa del Rey at the start of a seven day period that will define, almost certainly, Jose Mourinho’s final season at Real Madrid.
After the sides drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu in the first leg, Madrid now face Barcelona twice, in the cup and league, before travelling to Manchester for the conclusion of their Champions League tie a week today.
It could be a week where Madrid take a huge leap towards securing a historic domestic and European cup double, at the expense of their biggest rivals at home and abroad.
Equally, defeat in both could spell an early exit for Mourinho, with both parties looking to plan their next move after what would be considered a failed season.
Madrid’s search for La Decima has been well documented and is undoubtedly the priority, but with winning La Liga now out of sight, this evening’s cup tie takes on added significance.
El Clasico is always a matter of pride that envelops culture and politics alongside football, so there’ll be no letting up in the league on Saturday, but the sixteen point gap will still remain unassailable even if they thump Barcelona.
Barcelona also approaches a definitive part of their season as they stand on the brink of Champions League elimination after their 2-0 defeat in Milan.
They have the luxury of another week before the second leg at the Camp Nou, so they’ll be keen to pile more misery of Madrid’s season in the meantime.
Ronaldo has scored in his past five visits to Camp Nou, so unsurprisingly he’s 9/2 to be the First Goalscorer this evening.
Madrid can take further hope from the fact that three of their last four results at the Camp Nou would put them through to the final: 2-2, 3-2, 1-2, 2-2.
For those hoping history will repeat itself, a draw and over 3.5 goals is 15/2, which seems plausible in what we hope to be an entertaining yet climactic week in Europe.
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