Ronaldo & Salah Set to Light Up Champions League Semifinals

Martin Green

Monday, April 23, 2018 4:36 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 23, 2018 4:36 PM UTC

Soccer fans can look forward to two mouth-watering Champions League semifinal clashes this week, with several of the world’s leading stars on display. Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah, Robert Lewandowski and Edin Dzeko are among the superstar strikers doing their utmost to light up the tournament.

Tuesday: Liverpool v Roma

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Liverpool and Roma were both huge underdogs in their quarterfinal clashes with Man City and Barcelona, respectively, but both produced stunning performances to surge into the semis. Liverpool beat Man City home and away thanks to a high-pressing game that saw it win the ball back in dangerous positions and punish the Citizens. Roma lost 4-1 in the first leg at Camp Nou, but rallied to beat Barcelona 3-0 in Rome and reach the semifinals on the away goals rule.

Once again, Roma is the betting underdog, but it would be foolish to write it off after that magnificent performance against Lionel Messi and Co. Roma has the better goalkeeper as Alisson Becker is superior to Loris Karius, and it also has a better midfield. Kevin Strootman, Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan are three wonderful players, creative and strong and exciting in equal measures. Both teams have leaky defenses, but in offense Liverpool has a clear advantage.

Mohamed Salah has been on fire this season after leaving Roma for Liverpool last summer. He has broken plenty of goal scoring records and he took Man City apart in the previous round, so you would expect him to torment his former employers Tuesday. But Liverpool is not a one-man team as Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are also excellent forwards. Having said that, Edin Dzeko is a real handful up front for Roma, and he knows English football well from his time with Man City, so he could expose a suspect Liverpool defense.

Liverpool is -185 with BetOnline and -181 with Pinnacle, and it should be able to get the job done. Salah to score at any time looks really tempting (-162 with William Hill), and both teams to score and over 2.5 goals also looks good at -115 with William Hill.

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Cristiano Ronaldo latest bicycle kick goal.

— Hop.goals (@HopGoals) April 15, 2018

Wednesday: Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

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Real Madrid comes alive for Champions League knockout games, and it has dominated this competition in recent years. It beat Juventus 4-1 in last season’s final, and beat Atletico Madrid the previous year. It is now going for a third Champions League trophy in a row, and a fourth in five years. No team has come close to matching Real Madrid’s recent dominance, and this team is perfectly equipped for knockout competition.

The midfield of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro and Isco is peerless in world football, a terrifying blend of strength, skill, speed, precision and technical ability. Sergio Ramos is a defensive titan, and in Cristiano Ronaldo it possesses the deadliest striker ever seen. His bicycle kick against Juventus in the last round was positively jaw-dropping.

Ronaldo has scored 15 goals in this season’s Champions League, making him the top scorer, with seven more goals than Salah and Firmino and Sevilla’s Wissam Ben Yedder, who are joint second with eight strikes apiece. He is +100 with sportsbooks like William Hill to score at any time against Bayern Munich and that looks like a great bet.

Bayern Munich is the favourite to win the first leg Wednesday, as it has home advantage and it has been in sensational form. It has already wrapped up the Bundesliga title, and it has a wide array of world-class talent, from defensive lynchpins Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels to forwards Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben. It is also the only team in the world that can come close to matching Real Madrid’s midfield. Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara and co are also supremely talented, and it will be a fascinating battle. Bayern Munich should have beaten Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League, and it was let down by some poor refereeing decisions. No other team came so close to toppling Real last year, and it should be a great game. But Real Madrid already won away at PSG and at Juventus, so it looks a great bet to win away at Bayern Munich too, and the odds on offer are compelling: +280 with Pinnacle and +278 with 5Dimes.

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