Defence the key to Real Madrid’s Copa Del Rey progress

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Making a case for Espanyol to overturn a one goal deficit in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final against Real Madrid appears difficult with Los Blancos in the middle of a 20-game unbeaten run in all competitions

To make matters worse for Los Periquitos, who are 25/1 for a shock victory, they have not won in 18 attempts at the Santiago Bernabéu in a run that stretches back to 1996.

Real Madrid are as short as 1/12 for the win with Ladbrokes and Carlo Ancelotti’s side are expected to record their 11th straight victory in all competitions.

They will have to do so without £80m man Gareth Bale after the Welshman was ruled out by Ancelotti because of a problem with his left leg.

However, Los Merenguesare are well placed to cope without the former Tottenham man with Karim Benzema and Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo both in fine goal scoring form.

Benzema fired the only goal of the game in the first leg and he is a good bet at odds of 3/1 to strike first again, having done so three times in his last six appearances and in both his side’s last two Copa del Rey games.

Ronaldo is the obvious danger to this and is on at 8/5 to net first having also scored first in three of his last four appearances.

The former Manchester United forward is 5/1 to score a hat-trick against a side who have kept just two clean sheets in their last nine matches.

But while Ancelotti’s charges do not have much problem finding the net they are also rock solid at the back and have not conceded in 630 minutes of competitive football.

With this in mind, and no value in backing Real in the win-draw-win market, back the men in white for another clean sheet in winning to nil at 3/5 with the bookmaker.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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