Copa del Rey Semifinal Preview: Leg 1
Two More Clásicos on the Way
Familiar Faces in Semifinal
The Copa del Rey semifinal features the three most successful teams in the history of the competition…and Osasuna. Osasuna haven’t reached this stage since they made the final in the 2004-05 season. They’ll face 23-time winners Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. Meanwhile, fans will be treated to two more editions of El Clásico in the two-legged semifinal. Real Madrid will host Barcelona on Thursday and the second legs of both fixtures will be played in early April. We’ll take a look at the first leg odds in our Copa del Rey semifinal preview.
First Leg Matchups
Copa del Rey semifinal previews should note that Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao drew 0-0 when they last played in January. However, Bilbao are unbeaten in the last four meetings between the two sides. Both Basque teams are battling for European places in La Liga and Osasuna and Athletic are in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Osasuna are currently one point ahead of Athletic following Sunday’s 3-2 win over Sevilla. Meanwhile, Bilbao have lost their last two matches. La Liga form aside, the Spanish Copa del Rey odds price Athletic Bilbao as +135 ATS and moneyline favorites for Wednesday’s match.
Both teams played in five-goal thrillers last weekend yet over 2½ goals sit at just +150 odds. Osasuna’s Abde Ezzalzouli scored an 85th minute winner to win at Sevilla, 3-2. Ezzal zouli also scored the winner in the 2-1 extra time Copa del Rey quarterfinal win vs. Sevilla. Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao scored two set piece own goals in a 3-2 loss to Girona at home. Bilbao did get a 3-1 road win at Valencia in the quarter final to advance to this stage for a fourth straight season. Osasuna are the hosts on Wednesday and have a slightly above average 6-5 record at home in La Liga this season. Osasuna +½ comes in at -165 odds but the Pamplona club sits at just +210 odds to win the first leg.
Bettors can take a draw at relatively short +195 odds as well. However, Athletic Club haven’t drawn any of their last eight matches since the scoreless draw vs. Osasuna. There has been some bad blood in this match over the years in no small part due to the number of players who have ties to both clubs. Athletic Bilbao’s Oihan Sancet, Alex Berenguer and Raul Garcia all played for Osasuna either at youth or senior level. Garcia, along with Nico Williams, Ander Herrera and Unai Simon are injured. Simon, Athletic and Spain’s GK, injured his achilles tendon in the loss to Girona and his timetable for a return is unclear. Julen Agirrezabala will start if he can’t suit up.
Neither Real Madrid or Barcelona managed to win last weekend. That means they should both be fired up for the first leg of this Copa del Rey semi final Clásico on Thursday. Despite having a man advantage in the Derbi madrileño vs. Atletico Madrid, Real could only manage a draw. Exciting young talent Alvaro got the equalizer on a header and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play a role here. Meanwhile, Barcelona seem to be missing injured midfielder Pedri. They lost 2-1 to Manchester United in the Europa League and 1-0 to Almeria in La Liga without him. Copa del Rey semifinal previews note that Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati are also injured for Barcelona.
It’s time we get to see what Barcelona are made of, as this is the first time they’ve lost consecutive matches all season. Barcelona did pull off an incredible 4-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu last season, so anything is in the realm of possibility here. However, the odds are in Real Madrid’s favor. Los Blancos show +125 ATS and moneyline odds to win the match but David Alaba, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo are injured. Barça +½ comes in at -155 odds, though, and a draw would be a solid result for them. Bettors can find a tie at +235 odds for Thursday’s first leg.
Both teams have world class strikers. Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema leads Real Madrid’s dangerous front line, which also features Vinicius Jr. Meanwhile, Robert Lewandowski has had an excellent first season in Spain and has 15 league goals. The La Liga team stats also reveal that Barcelona have only conceded eight league goals all season. They have conceded in three of their last four matches in all competitions, though. Real Madrid put five goals on Liverpool last week and can turn their offense on in an instant. For that reason and others, over 2½ goals display -140 odds for the match. The other two meetings this season have finished in 3-1 wins apiece as well.
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