Overwhelming favourites for victory at 1/11 with Ladbrokes, it’s fair to say that Real Madrid head into their Club World Cup semi-final against Cruz Azul brimming with confidence following a run of 20 consecutive wins in all competitions – but don’t count against a goal for the Mexicans.
Having conceded goals against the not-so-mighty Almeria, Malaga, Rayo Vallecano and even Cornella in recent months the 22/1 outsiders for victory will at least fancy their chances of finding the net, having put three past Western Sydney Warriors during a 3-1 win in the previous round.
With a whopping 5/1 offered on 2-3 Cruz Azul goals being scored against Los Blancos, here are five players who could make it happen.
Club captain and Mexico national team legend with 146 caps to his name, the 35-year-old midfield veteran found the net twice against Western Sydney and, should Cruz Azul get a penalty, he will be expected to take it.
He spent time in La Liga with Tenerife, Sevilla and Racing Santander before returning home and will relish the chance of lining up against one of his former foes.
Part of the El Tricolor squad that impressed at the World Cup in Brazil, Fabian is currently on loan at Cruz Azul from Guadalajara and has already scored six goals in 19 appearances for his new employers.
A prolific marksman for the national side at under-21 level, the 25-year-old scored 15 goals in 20 appearances for the youth side and has added a further six to his tally for the full Mexico team and was part of the starting XI that won Olympic gold at the 2012 games.
A goalscorer against the Warriors last time out, Argentinean striker Pavone made his name starring alongside veteran midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron at Estudiantes, where he helped the club secure the 2006 Apertura title.
The 32-year-old subsequently played 76 games in Spain with Real Betis, scoring 16 goals along the way, before heading back to South America and then later Cruz Azul where a return of 34 strikes in 88 matches endeared him to the home support – one to watch against Real.
Familiar to Lancashire football fans following a two-year stay in England with Blackburn Rovers, attacking midfielder Formica was tipped for big things by then-manager Steve Kean with the club paying £4m to bring the 26-year-old in from Newell’s Old Boys.
But despite scoring four goals in his debut campaign for Rovers he could not prevent the club from being relegated and moved away the following year to Palermo on loan. Sold to Cruz Azul in the summer of 2013, Formica has rebuilt his reputation with 11 goals in just 33 games.
Another name that may well ring a bell for fans of the Arsenal persuasion, Alejandro Vela is the older brother of former Gunners youth star Carlos Vela and while he has failed to scale the same heights as his sibling he could still be one to watch.
A winger by trade, Vela has recently been deployed as an impact sub and though he is far from prolific for Cruz Azul, he could be one to surprise, having no doubt had advice from his brother, who starred when Real Sociedad beat Los Blancos earlier this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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