Karim Benzema and Jese scored for Real Madrid as they cruised to a 2-0 win over Osasuna in the first leg of the Round of 16 matchup in the Copa del Rey. Now they will look to officially punch their ticket to the quarter-finals with another strong performance.
The Blancos have been playing well since returning from the holiday break. They have won all three matches in 2014 by a combined score of 6-0. If they can maintain that defensive form in the second leg, they will easily move on to the next round.
Osasuna hope to make life more difficult on the Real back line than they did in the first match. After playing a conservative style in the opening leg in an attempt to return home with a chance to advance, the Rojillos must now take more chances to at least put pressure on the Blancos.
With that in mind, let's examine all of the important viewing information for the second leg, followed by a look at the top storyline and a match prediction.
Where: El Sadar Stadium in Pamplona, Spain
When: Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET (8:30 p.m. GMT)
Watch: beIN Sports en Espanol and Sky Sports 1
Live Stream: beIN Sports Play
Match Odds (via Bovada)
Real Madrid: -350
Top Storyline: Can Osasuna mount an improbable comeback in the second leg?
Although in a perfect world for Osasuna they would have earned an upset win or draw at the Bernabeu, a 2-0 loss is a reasonable result on the road against a top opponent. It gives them an opportunity to at least make things interesting, which wouldn't be the case if the score was more lopsided.
Even after the first leg, Real Madrid passed along comments from manager Carlo Ancelotti, who said the club was pushing hard for another tally to create a bigger gap ahead of the second leg, but it just wasn't possible:
So Osasuna enter the second leg with a chance to advance, however slim it may be. They will certainly need to take some risks by playing a higher line in an attempt to create scoring opportunities for the likes of Roberto Torres and Oriol Riera, but that wasn't unexpected.
The bigger problem for the Rojillos is figuring out a way to break down a well-rounded Real side. Real Esparta passed along the WhoScored player ratings from the first leg and it shows the lack of a weak point for the Blancos:
Real feature the more talented squad and are starting to find their stride again. So it's important for Osasuna to come out far more aggressively than the opening leg to prevent the Blancos from getting back into the same rhythm they found the first time around.
Ultimately, Osasuna are extreme long shots to advance but if they can find a way to net an early goal the tide could begin to shift in their favour. They can afford to take some risks playing from behind and Real Madrid must be prepared for that coming into the match.
Expect Real Madrid to focus on defending in the early going knowing full well that Osasuna are going to push forward with pace every chance they get. That should open up opportunities on the counterattack for the Blancos to put the matchup out of reach.
It probably won't be the most dominant or exciting performance from Real. They know what it's going to take to advance and are going to play a style that all but ensures a trip to the quarter-finals. A narrow win or draw is the most likely outcome.
Real Madrid 2, Osasuna 1