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Monday, November 20, 2017

Madrid eager to put La Liga woes behind them in the Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo3
Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.


Real Madrid and other top clubs look to qualify for the round of 16 in Matchday 5 of the UEFA Champions League.


1. APOEL Nicosia v. Real Madrid.
2. Sevilla FC v. Liverpool FC.
3. Besiktas v. FC Porto.
4. Juventus FC v. FC Barcelona.
5. Qarabag FK v. Chelsea FC.
6. CSKA Moscow v. Benfica.

1. APOEL Nicosia v. Real Madrid:

Sergio Ramos2
Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.

Real Madrid can guarantee their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a victory at APOEL Nicosia on Tuesday.

The European champions are under pressure at the moment, having fallen 10 points behind Barcelona in La Liga and with rumours circulating of a rift between senior players Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.

Madrid's 3-1 defeat at Tottenham in the last round of Champions League fixtures left them three points behind the Premier League side in Group H.

However, with Spurs set to visit Borussia Dortmund on the same night a win for Madrid in Cyprus could keep them in the hunt for top spot.

Madrid are currently 11/2 third favourites to win the competition for the third year in row, but check out the Champions League outright betting at Sun Bets before wagering.

APOEL have drawn twice with Borussia Dortmund during the group stage, but Madrid should prove too strong on Tuesday and odds of 13/2 for a 3-0 victory look tempting.

Ronaldo has only scored one league goal this season, but he is on form in Europe with six goals from the four group stage games so far. He is 19/10 to grab the opener in Cyprus.

2. Sevilla FC v. Liverpool FC:

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Liverpool visit Sevilla hoping to secure their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

Liverpool lead Group E by a point from Sevilla, with Spartak Moscow a further two points behind in third place.

The La Liga side are difficult to beat on their own patch, but they are surprisingly rated as 13/8 second favourites to beat Jurgen Klopp's side. Liverpool are priced at 6/4, with the draw available at 5/2.

The Reds were held 2-2 by the La Liga outfit in the reverse fixture and a repeat of that scoreline can be backed at 10/1 on Tuesday.

The two sides' only other meeting came in the final of the Europa League during the 2015/16 season, where Sevilla secured a 3-1 victory. Bookmakers are offering 18/1 for a repeat performance.

3. Besiktas v. FC Porto:

Tuesday's other big clash comes in Turkey as Besiktas host FC Porto in Group G.

A point for Besiktas would guarantee them top spot, but Porto desperately need a victory to take some of the pressure off their final group game against Monaco in December.

The Portuguese side are just two points ahead of RB Leipzig and will be eager to justify odds of 6/4 to defeat Besiktas in Turkey.

4. Juventus FC v. FC Barcelona:

Lionel Andres Messi in action for FC Barcelona
in Tokyo, Japan during the Club World Cup 
versus Santos FC on 15 December 2011.
Photo credit: Christopher Johnson of Tokyo, Japan.
"Leo Messi: 2011 Player of the Year."

The Group D clash between Juventus and Barcelona is the highlight of Wednesday's fixtures, with the Serie A side still harbouring hopes of claiming top spot in Group D.

Barca won 3-0 at the Nou Camp back in September, but Juve will be gunning for revenge and look tempting at odds of 19/10 to turn the tables.

Juve knocked Barcelona out of last season's Champions League at the quarter-final stage and can be backed at 28/1 to repeat the 3-0 scoreline they recorded in the home leg of that tie.

5.  Qarabag FK v. Chelsea FC:

Image credit: Rizzoli.

Chelsea face Qarabag FK in Azerbaijan needing a victory to take them through to the knockout stage.

Antonio Conte's side are 1/3 to win the game, although a draw or a defeat could set up a nervy last match against Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea hold a four point lead over Altetico, but with Diego Simeone's team rated as 20/21 favourites to beat Roma on the same night the Blues will be keen to avoid any slip-ups.

6. CSKA Moscow v. Benfica:

With Manchester United looking nailed on to finish top of Group A, who will finish second is less clear.

Basel and CSKA Moscow are level on six points, but with the Swiss side facing United on Wednesday CSKA could take advantage.

CSKA host Benfica and are priced at 21/20 to pick up three points and boost their hopes of qualifying for the next stage.

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer and translator based in Washington, D.C. He is the publisher of World Football Commentaries since 2006 and published The Soccer Translator from 2008 to 2015. 

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