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Sporting vs Bilbao: Away form stands Spaniards in good stead

| 18.04.2012

Home success over Manchester City at the round of 16 stage will give Sporting Lisbon great confidence going into Thursday’s clash, for which they are attributed a 13/8 price to beat Athletic Bilbao in a Europa League semi-final first leg tie.

Their Spanish visitors are a 7/4 chance for victory in Portugal, and their impressive record on the road in Europe, which includes four wins from six outings, will encourage some punters to invest in them.

You can alternatively take advantage of 9/4 odds on the draw, and Lisbon’s terrific home record of ten wins from their past 11 European games, coupled with Athletic Club’s run on their travels, makes this look the most appealing outcome to get behind.

It is worth noting that Bilbao have yet to keep a clean sheet against Portuguese opposition, yet have registered in each of their games on the road in the Europa League this term, so the 4/6 odds for both teams to score would appear nailed on.

At a bigger 3/1, the score draw looks to have very real chances, as the respective conquerors of Manchester City and Manchester United meet in Lisbon.

Either side possesses an obvious focal point to their attack, as five-goal Ricky Van Wolfswinkel will line up for the Portuguese outfit against powerful Bilbao forward Fernando Llorente, who has six European strikes this season.

Van Wolfswinkel is a 5/1 shot to bag the opener tonight, whilst Spanish international Llorente is 9/2 favourite to break the deadlock.

Both sides have been somewhat prolific in this year’s competition, with only one team notching more times than 24-goal Bilbao, so 12/1 odds about four or more goals occurring in the game will tempt punters.

Bilbao have registered doubles in a big seven European games this season, whilst Sporting have scored twice in five of their European home games this term, and these statistics make the 14/1 odds for a 2-2 scoreline look far too big.



John Klee