Thursday's Bet of the Day extra: Backing a low scoring game when Valencia go to Atletico Madrid

These two sides have played twice already this season, with just one goal scored, and Phil Kitromilides is predicting goals to be scarce again in this Europa League clash
Thursday's semi-final first leg sees the meeting of two of La Liga's most frustrating sides. Atletico spent more than any other Spanish side in the transfer market last summer, yet their season was in danger of descending into disaster before the appointment of Diego Simeone at the turn of the year.

The Argentine has instilled more solidity to the side, but they remain capable of beating and comprehensively outplaying Athletic Bilbao one week and crumbling feebly at Levante the next.

Valencia in the meantime have been similarly infuriating with their last three matches seeing them claim a valiant goalless draw at the Bernabeu, before beating Rayo Vallecano 4-1 and being thrashed 4-0 at Espanyol.

With two such volatile sides, backing a winner may prove to be tricky, yet with both sides are available at better than even money an argument could be made for taking either Atletico at 11/10 (2.10) with Paddy Power or Valencia at 13/5 (3.60). The draw trades at 23/10 (3.30).

These two sides met in this competition back in 2010 with Atletico progressing on their way to winning the trophy, thanks to the away goals rule.

Yet goals in recent meetings have been few and far between, with four of the last five encounters seeing under 2.5, and the price of 4/5 (1.80) for less than three goals on Thursday may appeal, especially when the previous two league meetings have produced just one goal.

But the bet for Thursday is for more goals in the second half, priced at what looks like a generous 11/10 (2.10). This bet has paid out in eight of Atleti's last 10 matches while Valencia have only had one goalless second half in their last 12 games.

For slightly higher odds, try backing the first half to end 0-0 available at 9/5 (2.80). Four out of the last six meetings between the sides have seen a goalless first half and the first 45 minutes of a two-legged European semi-final should be a tight affair.

More goals in second half 11/10 (2.10) with Paddy Power

0-0 at half time 9/5 (2.80) with Paddy Power

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid.
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