Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: UEFA Champions League: Semi-Finals (First Leg) Preview

UEFA Champions League: Semi-Finals (First Leg) Preview

Karim Benzema and Christian Pulisic

The semi-finals of Europe's elite club competition will take center-stage this week with all four clubs capable of beating each other, making it unpredictable to confidently call, who's going to reach the final in Istanbul. We preview the mouth-watering action and offer a tasty double for you punters.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are at the cusp of engraving their names on the trophy for the first time in their history and reaching their ultimate goal after years of lucrative investment.

On the other hand, Chelsea and their new-manger will want to go into their first full season with bragging rights of being the Champions League holders, however, standing in their way is the record winners, Real Madrid, looking to add a 14th title to their cabinet.

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To Win Outright:
Manchester City 5/4
Paris Saint-Germain 3/1
Real Madrid 4/1
Chelsea 4/1

Tuesday 27 April

Real Madrid 27/20
Draw 22/10
Chelsea 43/20

Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane has a stellar managerial record after cementing his legacy as the first coach to win the prestigious “big ears” trophy for three straight seasons. However, one thing he hasn’t done is beat a Thomas Tuchel outfit in four attempts.

Both managers have pitted their wits against each other in previous year’s group stage ties while Tuchel was the PSG mentor, with goals and entertaining football being played out each time. Three games ended in 2-2 stalemates, while PSG handed Los Blancos a 3-0 humbling in Paris.

Zizou has a different and more exuberant squad of hungry, young players that bring a lot of directness, courage and raw speed to the fore around the axis of world class veterans in Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and most importantly Sergio Ramos who will be the biggest absentee in this encounter of massive importance.

Ramos will be doing everything in his power to reclaim his captain’s armband for the second-leg tie at Stamford Bridge, while Raphael Varane is expected to hold the fort.

One world class Real player I left out purposefully was, Belgium’s number one Thibaut Courtois, who will be hoping to outdo his opposite number, Edouard Mendy, who’s been an excellent addition to the Blues and a key figure during their upturn in form.

There’s too much at stake and it will be a game of very slim margins. Either side won’t want to give the upper hand to their opponent in this two-legged contest. If either side are to win it, I’d be eyeing them by a single goal in the Winning Margins market, Real Madrid By One Goal 29/10, or Chelsea By One Goal 38/10. I strongly suggest taking these sides to share the spoils at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano.

Wednesday 28 April

Paris Saint-Germain 37/20
Draw 26/10
Manchester City 13/10

Mauricio Pochettino has had the privilege of facing Pep Guardiola, who’s recognized by most as the benchmark of modern football managers, 18 times in his career, winning just three games.

Although, this time around ‘Poch’ will be playing on a level playing field or rather possess a superior squad compared to Guardiola that will put his benchmark tag under scrutiny.

Pochettino first squared off against Guardiola while in charge of Barcelona’s crosstown rivals Espanyol and later the pair reignited their rivalry when the Argentine coach reached the 2018/19 final with Tottenham, beating Manchester City in the semi-final in one of the most exciting matches in recent memory that was marred by the VAR controversy surrounding a Fernando Llorente handball.

The Citizens will be sweating on the fitness of talisman Kevin De Bruyne who is nursing an ankle injury, while influential Brazilian centre-back Marquinhos is working diligently to take his place in the heart of the Parisians defence.

The Sky Blues’ confidence has taken a knock since suffering defeats to Leeds United (Premier League) and Chelsea (FA Cup), and the mischievous pair of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will want to add to their woes and go one better than last season’s runner-up finish, narrowly succumbing to a single goal by Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman who was interestingly a PSG academy graduate.

Without checking any statistics these two sides are possibly the highest goal scorers in Europe’s top leagues. However, in this matchup I expect both sides to approach the game in a more pragmatic manner and go into the half-time break level. Take Draw in the Half-Time market confidently at 13/10.

DOUBLE @ 63/10
Real Madrid vs Chelsea Draw 22/10
PSG vs Man City Half-Time Draw 13/10

Written by Bryan Naicker