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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Expect goals when Napoli visit Real

Both teams can find the net

Marek Hamsik of Napoli
1 of 1

Champions League last-16 first leg
BT Sport 3, 7.45pm Wednesday

Goals come as a given in games involving Real Madrid so don’t be surprised if they put a few on the board in beating Napoli in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie at the Bernabeu.

It’s 6-10 that the defending champions kick off the knockout phase with victory over Maurizio Sarri’s men but since the free-scoring Spanish giants rarely win without bagging a few goals, take a punt on Real and over 2.5 at a more rewarding 23-20.

Zinedine Zidane’s side haven’t failed to score in a game all season long and the Frenchman has got almost all of his attacking tools back at his disposal. Even Gareth Bale has returned to training.

Crucially, his first-choice midfield is also available to him and with Casemiro enabling Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to pull strings galore, the balance of the side looks perfect.

And they love this competition, especially games at the Bernabeu. They’ve won 28 of their last 33 home Champions League ties, losing only one of that lot.

Zidane, at his press conference, was very aware of what Napoli offer but confident his team will simply overpower them – though it might be close.

For one thing, Real can be exposed defensively. Both teams scored in each of their six group games and both teams have scored in six of their last seven. Even Osasuna found the net against them on Saturday.

And Napoli are a decent outfit. There is no shame in lying third behind Juventus and Roma in Serie A but the massive positive for their supporters and backers is how consistent they’ve been this season. They are unbeaten in 18.

Marek Hamsik’s talents are well known but few expected Dries Mertens to emerge so triumphantly from Gonzalo Higuain’s shadow, yet with 14 goals in his last 11 the Belgian is on fire.

They haven’t lost an away game since October – and that was a narrow loss at Juve – and will be confident they can score. They have done so in their four away ties in the competition so far, including wins at Dynamo Kiev and Benfica.

Both teams, incidentally, have scored in seven of Napoli’s eight ties.

Recommendation
Real Madrid & over 2.5 goals
2pts 23-20 Betway, BoyleSports

Bet on this game at soccerbase.com


Team news
Real Madrid
Gareth Bale is fit but unlikely to be involved.

Napoli
Arkadiusz Milik is fully fit following knee surgery.

Key stat
Real Madrid have scored in each of their last 33 home Champions League ties.

Real can be exposed defensively. Both teams scored in each of their six group games and both teams have scored in six of their last seven
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