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Real Madrid fancied to edge tight cup clash against Barcelona

Real Madrid host Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg on Wednesday having drawn 1-1 at the Nou Camp three weeks ago.

Madrid caused Barcelona plenty of problems in the first meeting, with Lucas Vazquez opening the scoring before Malcom equalised.

However, their record in this competition is surprisingly poor, having won it just twice in the last 25 years.

By contrast, Barca have lifted the trophy six times in the last 10 years and are chasing their fifth Copa del Rey success in a row.

Ernesto Valverde’s side head to the Bernabeu Stadium on the back of a confidence boosting 4-2 win at Sevilla over the weekend.

Lionel Messi was in sparkling form during that game, bagging a hat-trick, and he could be worth checking out in the first goalscorer market this evening.

Madrid defeated Levante 2-1 in a bad-tempered game thanks to two disputed penalties from Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Bookmakers cannot split the two sides in the match betting market, with both priced at odds of around 6/4 to win the game.

The draw is rated as a 5/2 chance and many punters will be eager to use free bets sign-up offers to take advantage of what look a generous price.

Sergio Ramos is certain to return to the Madrid starting line-up after missing Sunday’s game through suspension. Isco is unavailable with a back problem, while Marcos Llorente is also still out with a thigh strain.

Barca are missing Arthur Melo and Jasper Cillessen, but Samuel Umtiti returned to start his first game in three months on Saturday and should retain his place against Madrid.

The two sides have played each other on 273 previous occasions across all competitions, with Barca leading the way with 113 victories compared to Madrid’s 99. There have been 61 draws.

This evening’s meeting is the first of two within the next four days, with the two Spanish giants set to go head-to-head in La Liga on Saturday.

A victory for Madrid this evening would undoubtedly be a big confidence booster for their upcoming league clash.

Santiago Solari’s side trail Barca by nine points with 13 games to play this season and anything less than three points will probably end their title challenge and perhaps cast doubt over the manager’s future.

With that in mind, Madrid are fancied to edge this evening’s cup game, with a 2-1 scoreline fancied as the most likely outcome.

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