Juventus vs Atletico MadridUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Mar 12, 2019, Juventus Stadium
IT'S crunch time for Juventus and their £100million investment in Cristiano Ronaldo as they look for their talisman to keep their Champions League dream alive.
The Italian champions splashed out Ronaldo to deliver Europe's biggest prize, with Ronaldo lifting the trophy five times at Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Two of his victories with Real came against city rivals Atletico in the final and Diego Simeone's men can now get their revenge by dumping Ronaldo's Juve out of the Champions League.
Atletico were excellent when they beat Juventus 2-0 in the first leg of this last-16 clash, turning in one of their most accomplished displays under Simeone.
I fancied Atletico to reach the Champions League Final at the start of the campaign, given the showpiece is being held in their Wanda Metropolitano stadium. And Simeone's side are still an attractive 8/1 to lift the trophy, third favourites behind Barcelona (9/2) and Manchester City (5/2).
I'm backing them to survive this second leg and qualify, although the odds on that are poor at just 3/10 with Sportingbet. Juventus are a generous 10/3 with Sky Bet to go through and that will attract a few bets, especially with Ronaldo in the team.
The preening one has told fans “to get ready for a comeback” and if you fancy Ronaldo to deliver on his promise there are some interesting bets.
Ronaldo to score first is an enhanced 3/1 at 188 Bet and that looks a good option, especially as he will take any penalties or free-kicks. The Portuguese star is also 5/1 with Paddy Power to score two goals or more if you think he can pull off a salvage operation.
Atletico will sit back and frustrate so a good option may be half-time draw/full-time Juventus which is available at 71/20 with Marathonbet.
The Turin side will probably win on the night but not by enough goals to go through. That lends value to the 13/5 on offer from Paddy Power for Juve to win by a one-goal margin.
Dortmund hit four at home against Atletico in the group stage so it's not beyond the realms of possibility for Simeone's men to crack, especially if they concede early.
But Atletico have won five games in a row without conceding a single goal since they were beaten 3-1 at home by Real Madrid in a La Liga derby.
That suggests Simeone's well-drilled defence is back to its best, although he has a problem at left-back with Felipe Luis and Lucas Hernandez both ruled out with injury.
Juve also have a problem at full-back with the suspension for Alex Sandro but a host of big guns will be fresh after being rested against Udinese at the weekend.
Under 2.5 goals looks a good shout at 3/4 with Marathonbet and I wouldn't totally rule out a 0-0 stalemate, which is available at 44/5 with the same firm.
It was two defenders who did the damage for Atletico in the first leg, with Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin on target. They could be a threat from set-pieces again so Gimenez might be a worth a tentative bet for anytime scorer at a whopping 30/1 with Betfair.
This UEFA Champions League match between Juventus and Atletico Madrid will be played on Mar 12, 2019 and kick off at 20:00