Argentines on song ahead of Real vs Barca take three
Two Argentines stole the show as Real Madrid and Barcelona both collected victories ahead of the first leg of their Champions League semi final.
Real Madrid have held the upper hand across the opening two clashes against Barcelona in the past week, fighting back with ten men to draw the league game at the Bernabeu and then winning the Copa del Rey final in extra time.
They warmed up for the third meeting with an emphatic 6-3 La Liga victory at Valencia and the performance of Gonzalo Higuain may have given Jose Mourinho a small selection headache.
A defensive strategy has paid dividends for Mourinho in the opening two games with Barcelona, but Real Madrid showed that they also have an abundance of attacking talent in the Valencia victory.
Higuain led the way with a hat-trick and now will be keen to be handed a start against Barcelona, with Real Madrid 13/8 in the Champions League odds to secure a first-leg triumph.
Kaka is another who has not featured in either of the recent Barcelona showdowns, but also enhanced his credentials for a start with a double.
Barcelona’s odds are also 13/8 to win at the Bernabeu and they will not want their winless streak against their rivals to extend to three games.
The performance of Lionel Messi could be critical to preventing this and he prepared for the European tie by scoring in the 2-0 La Liga win over Osasuna.
In doing so, Messi became the first player ever to score 50 goals in a Spanish season and also helped Barcelona retain their eight-point advantage at the head of the La Liga standings.
Both of the previous two showdowns between Barcelona and Real Madrid have been all-square after 90 minutes and it is 23/10 in the Champions League betting that the third clash also ends in the same manner.
A £30 stake on Real Madrid beating Barcelona 2-1 would return £270. New customers can sign up here for a free £30 bet.