APOEL vs Real Madrid preview

March 26, 2012
By: Frank Beresford

This year’s surprise package were unlucky to be drawn alongside Real Madrid, but after APOEL eliminated Lyon to reach the quarter-finals, los Blancos cannot afford to underestimate their less illustrious opponents.

The Cypriot side shocked everyone by winning the first place in one of the toughest Champions League groups, after which they were pitted against Lyon in the first knockout stage.

Many believed that APOEL would not be able to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first leg, but they recorded a 1-0 victory in the return leg and achieved a historic success after winning the tie on penalties.

The Cypriots are now set to face high-flying Real Madrid, but you can be sure they will give their best to keep the tie alive before the return leg.

Considering Ivan Jovanovic’s side already beat the likes of Zenit, Porto and Lyon at their Neo GSP Stadium, backing APOEL not to lose at odds of 4.00 (3/1) offered by Stan James could be worth a shot.

Apart from Panos Constantinou, Ivan Jovanovic should have fully fit squad to choose from, although Gustavo Manduca is suspended.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Chiotis – Poursaitidis, Marcelo, Paulo Jorge, William – Helder Sousa, Morais – Charalambidis, Ailton, Trickovski – Solari.

Real Madrid eased off to a 5-2 aggregate victory over CSKA Moscow in the first knockout round and everybody expects them to make it to the Champions League semi-finals without too many problems.

Nevertheless, the game against highly motivated APOEL at packed Neo GSP Stadium is unlikely to be a walk in the park as los Blancos are not exactly on top of their game at the moment.

Jose Mourinho’s side did return to winning ways after back to back draws against Malaga and Villarreal, but they are not without problems before this match.

Xabi Alonso misses out through suspension, whereas Lassana Diarra, Ricardo Carvalho, Angel Di Maria and Jose Callejon are all sidelined through injury.

Taking all their selection problems into account, odds of 1.30 (3/10) offered by William Hill on away win are definitely not worth a shot.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Casillas – Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo – Khedira, Granero – Ozil, Kaka, Ronaldo – Benzema.

With a very tight game expected in Nicosia, you should know that Unibet will refund your stake if the game finish goalless.

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