Athletic Club 0-2 Real Madrid – Betting Review
Real Madrid put in a very professional and hard-working display to gain a deserved win over a Basque rival hungry for their blood.
With a strong defence and some clinical attacking football, the visitor had to suffer at times but fully merited their win due to much more effective football when it mattered.
Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos’ late strike helped Real Madrid to an impressive 2-0 victory at San Mamés, ensuring they stay on the heels of leaders Barcelona.
Athletic Bilbao came into the game with bad form but inspired by the fans, they started at blistering speed in front of a packed Estadio San Mamés.
Aitor Paredes was first to test Thibaut Courtois with a flicked header before Inaki Williams fizzed a powerful 20-yard strike just past the post in the opening 20 minutes.
To their credit, Real Madrid emerged safe from the early blitz and a moment of quality from Karim Benzema suddenly gave Los Blancos the lead against the run of play. Marco Asensio’s lofted header cross was met by Benzema, who thumped a first-time left-footed volley straight past a motionless Unai Simón for 0-1.
The home side increased their tempo and attacking ambition, but couldn’t work clear openings as Madrid organised well in the backline and showed bravery when put under heavy pressure.
Madrid initially pushed for the second goal as they started the second half with more momentum.
Nacho forced Simón into a point-blank save and it set the tone of a period where, although Athletic risked more and had more of the play, the visitor worked the clearest openings.
The Basques refused to admit defeat and pushed for a leveller in the closing stages as an unmarked Nico Williams dragged his shot wide from 10 yards. His brother Inaki Williams fired into the net from close range only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Asensio had missed a big chance for Real Madrid on a rare attack earlier in the half, but they got the second goal in added time when substitute Kroos finished a flowing Madrid counter-attack with a low strike past Simón. Fair score 1-2.
Looking at the 1×2 market first which was reasonably tight. The favourite for this game was Real Madrid @ 2.45, and they won perhaps more convincingly than the market expected. That said, the crucial opening goal was against the run of play but given it, Real showed their edge in class and quality to manage the rest of the contest.
Moving onto the Asian handicap section for this game. The market had the two sides so close that the offer was draw no bet (DNB). Madrid -0 @ 1.78 won this market too and with hindsight, was a smart bet as they always played more effective football in possession and importantly, matched the host’s fighting spirit.
Looking at The Under/Over market last of all which was set at 2.5. The Under won @ 1.97 but the result could have gone either way. It was a super tense and frenetic affair which isn’t ideal for goals, but both worked chances and there was an early goal.