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Rupert Wyman 17th Jan 2012 - 15:48

A Real test awaits Barcelona

Jose Mourinho's side take on Barcelona at the Bernabeu in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. Real have home advantage for the first leg and they will be looking to retain the title.

The home win is 7/4, the draw is 23/10 and the away win is 6/4. Real Madrid won last season's final when Ronaldo's extra-time goal gave Mourinho's men their first Copa del Rey trophy since 1993.

Barcelona will need to silence the crowd and keep Ronaldo quiet. Madrid have the impossible problem of attempting to mark Messi. He needs to be denied space and his every move will be followed by Pepe.

Pepe has a reputation in Spain and being Portuguese probably does not help his cause. He is an aggressive player and he makes rash challenges. Messi will either end up finding the net at 10/11 anytime or Pepe will end up in the referee's book.

You can back over three Madrid cards at 8/13 and 2-3 cards at 15/8. I cannot see it being that dirty as it is only the first leg of the semi-final and the managers will not want to lose players to suspension. The 15/8 looks a good bet and the 1/2 for there not to be a red card looks value for the first leg.

Real are not the same team as last season, they play better football and the players seem to understand each other. They were unlucky in the last El Clasico and they started the better side, you can back them at even money draw no bet. They key is to keep Messi quiet for ninety minutes.

The Match Winner is based on the two maestros, Ronaldo and the little Argentinian wizard. We have enhanced the price of both Ronaldo and Messi to score anytime from 11/4 to 4/1!

Under Mourinho, Madrid's record against Barcelona reads, played eight, won one, drawn three and lost four.  Madrid will be desperate to beat Barcelona and the Catalans look likely to play their second keeper Jose Pinto.

He may be experienced but he is not Valdes, you can get 11/5 for Barcelona to keep a clean sheet. Barcelona came from a goal down to beat Madrid 3-1 in La Liga last month.

They are 17/2 to come from behind and win the clash. It was the first time in six games where Messi had not scored at the Santiago Bernabeu and he is 7/2 to open the scoring.

In last month's match, Benzema scored the quickest goal in El Clasico history. He found the net after only twenty-three seconds, it is 15/8 for a goal to be scored in the 1st to 15th minute.

Cesc Fabregas is expected to continue his role upfront alongside Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez. He has been banging in the goals this season and you can back him to open the scoring at 11/2.



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