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Our man in the Spanish capital Phil Kitromilides is predicting a tight opening 45 minutes between these two defensively strong sides

For the first time in 40 years Atletico Madrid are among the continent's top four sides, yet while tonight's game against Chelsea will be a momentous occasion for the Rojiblancos, it is unlikely to be an aesthetically pleasing spectacle.

All season we have been praising Diego Siemone's men for their tactical efficiency and relentless energy which has seen them deny sides the time and space needed to break them down.

They are not pretty, but they certainly are effective. Chelsea for their part arguably possess a squad of more technical ability, yet the Blues are likely to be content to try and sit back and hit Atleti on the counter, with Jose Mourinho the master of the two legged European tie.

Bet365 price a home win at 10/11 (1.91) while Chelsea are offered at 16/5 (4.20) and the draw available at 9/4 (3.25).

Given the nature of the two sides, a low scoring game looks likely and the price of 8/15 (1.53) for under 2.5 goals is a testament to just how tight the bookies think this encounter will be.

Those odds are naturally too small for all but the most serous of punters to consider, but more a enticing prospect is backing a goalless first half at 11/8 (2.38).

This bet has comfortably paid out in the first legs of Atleti's ties in the previous two rounds against Barcelona and AC Milan respectively.

Neither Atletico nor Chelsea can be defined as expansive attacking sides. Both are likely to treat the opening 45 minutes of this two legged semi-final with some caution meaning under 0.5 goals in the first half is highly likely.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
Under 0.5 goals in the first half at 11/8 (2.38) for a 2.0pt stake at bet365

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV presenter in Madrid

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