Wait for late Milan strike

Nick Hext reckons backing a late AC Milan goal is the way to go in the return leg of their Champions League tie with Barcelona.

Last Updated: 12/03/13 at 19:10 Post Comment

Barcelona have plenty of work to do against AC Milan.

Barcelona have plenty of work to do against AC Milan.

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Our Nick Hext reckons backing a late AC Milan goal is the way to go in the return leg of their Champions League tie with Barcelona.

It's no surprise to see Barcelona as the odds-on favourites to beat AC Milan in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie but the odds in the to qualify market certainly don't reflect the tough task they face.

Barca enter this clash 2-0 down from the opening encounter and that means a victory by three goals is required to reach the quarter-finals or a 2-0 success to take the contest to extra-time.

That should see the Catalans as a larger price to make the quarter-finals and the odds clearly show the high regard the Primera Division leaders are held in.

We all know about the quality of football produced by Barca in the last few years but the simple maths of the situation - especially with the damage an AC Milan strike does to their chances via the away goals rule - mean they can't be backed.

The same goes for Lionel Messi.

Barca's star man has already scored 51 goals this season but you won't be surprised to learn the bookies are aware he's quite good so 2/5 is the best price available for him to net.

The recent record of the Catalans also isn't too hot with three wins and three defeats in their last six matches and AC Milan are in decent form ahead of this match with an 11-game unbeaten run in 2013.

There are concerns for the Italians with Philippe Mexes an injury doubt and Giampaolo Pazzini ruled out because oft the hairline fracture he suffered to his fibula during Friday's win at Genoa.

Mario Balotelli is cup-tied after his efforts for Manchester City earlier in the season but Milan still provide a threat with goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari in the first leg proving the danger from midfield.

A few of you will be interested by the hefty price for Milan to win but the situation doesn't require them to do that and Barca's 19-match unbeaten run at home in the Champions League deserves serious respect.

The best way I've found to support Massimiliano Allegri's side is by backing them to score the last goal of the game.

They have done that in six of their last eight matches and it doesn't take a huge leap of imagination to see how Barca can be punished on the break as they go pushing for late goals.

Everyone will recall how Fernando Torres' goal at the Nou Camp last season sealed Chelsea's progress to the Champions League final and we could well see a similar situation this time.

Backing Milan to score last is certainly worthy of providing you with an interest.

Schalke v Galatasaray is the night's other Champions League clash.

The first leg finished 1-1 in Turkey to give the Bundesliga side the advantage but I reckon it's the visitors to back at the Veltins Arena.

The January additions of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder have increased the star names in the Gala squad and the likes of Hamit Altintop and Felipe Melo also have decent reputations.

Fatih Terim's side suffered a disappointing defeat against Genclerbirligi at the weekend but I wouldn't be too worried by that as their credentials are proved by sitting at the top of the Super Lig.

Schalke impressed in Saturday's victory over Borussia Dortmund but the win came at a cost as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar suffered a knee injury that keeps him out of this match.

Jermaine Jones, who scored Schalke's goal in Turkey, is suspended so there are reasons to be concerned about the home side's chances.

Gala are well worth backing for the victory and that is the second tip for the night.


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