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Champions League: Expect goals and home wins in second legs

Wed, Apr 19, 1:46pm by Senior Writer

Barcelona are looking to pull off another Champions League great escape against Juventus, while Monaco looks to book their first semi-final appearance in this competition in 14 years in Thursday morning action.

Barcelona v Juventus, Nou Camp, Barcelona, Thursday April 20, 4:45am AEST

What an intriguing battle we have in prospect here. Juventus completely dominated the first leg, winning 3-0 at home to put one foot in the final four of Europe’s premier club competition.

Against any other opposition, this would seem a fait accompli for the Italian giants, but Barca’s outrageous comeback from a 4-0 first leg deficit in the Round of 16 against Paris St Germain lives large in the memory.

Barcelona have scored three or more goals in their past six home games and haven’t lost a Champions League game at the Nou Camp in four years. That’s why they are $1.53 to win this match, with the draw at $4.50 and a Juventus win, their first in Barcelona since a 2-1 extra time victory in 2003, is priced at $5.50.

Juventus are $1.13 to progress to the semi-finals, with Barcelona at $5.40. A 3-0 win would earn Barca a shot at extra time, while any Juventus goal would require the home side to win by at least four.

While the Spanish team possess no end of attacking options, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar having combined for 62 goals so far this season, they have kept just one clean sheet in their past eight matches.

When you consider that Juventus has conceded just two goals in 540 minutes of Champions League football this campaign, and that they haven’t been kept goalless in any game since October, you get to appreciate how this is a very different challenge to the one PSG presented.

So where’s the betting value in this? With the nature of the tie, Barca will go all out attack, so perhaps the both sides to score and Barcelona to win is the best option at $2.63. A 2-1 Barcelona win is also worth considering at around $9.

Suggested Bet: Take Barcelona to win and both sides to score at $2.63

Monaco v Borussia Dortmund, Stade Louis II, Monaco, Thursday April 20, 4:45am AEST

Last week’s first leg was initially postponed and then held just 24 hours after the Dortmund team bus was bombed, prompting calls that organisers got it wrong. Certainly, it looked as though the Dortmund players’ minds were on other things as they suffered their first defeat at home since August.

Monaco were able to take advantage of the situation to win 3-2, meaning Dortmund need a two-goal win here (or a 4-3/5-4 result) to get through.

Monaco are nine matches without defeat in home Champions League matches, but look very generous odds of $2.80 to win this leg. The draw is at $3.90, with Borussia Dortmund at $2.20.

Those odds seem a little puzzling when you consider the German team have won just two of their past six away Champions League matches. They did bounce back off the Monaco loss last week to defeat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The issue for Dortmund is keeping a clean sheet, something they haven’t done in their past three games. Monaco are one of the highest scoring sides in Europe and haven’t gone without a goal in a home match since November 2015.

Dortmund are $3.11 to get through the semi-finals, with Monaco at $1.34.

Again, this is a match where we are keen to take both sides to score and the home side to win, in this case Monaco.

Suggested Bet: Monaco to win and both teams to score: $4

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