Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

Juventus miss Turin date after Benfica knockout

Juventus' Pablo Osvaldo (C) reacts at the end of their Europa League semi-final second leg soccer match against Benfica at the Juventus stadium in Turin (Reuters) Juventus' Pablo Osvaldo (C) reacts at the end of their Europa League semi-final second leg soccer match against Benfica at the Juventus stadium in Turin (Reuters)
Reuters | Valencia | Posted: May 3, 2014 2:04 am | Updated: May 3, 2014 6:09 pm

Juventus missed a chance to play the Europa League final at home after Portuguese club Benfica eliminated them 2-1 on aggregate following a 0-0 draw in the second leg. Sevilla snatched a place in the final when a 94th-minute Stephane Mbia header put them through on away goals after their semi-final tie against Valencia ended 3-3 on aggregate on Thursday. Despite going down 3-1 at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium, Mbia’s dramatic late goal set up a final showdown with Benfica on May 14.

Sevilla were favourites to advance against their La Liga rivals after winning last week’s first leg 2-0 at home but a 14th-minute Sofiane Feghouli strike, an own goal from goalkeeper Beto in the 26th and a Jeremy Mathieu effort 21 minutes from time put Valencia 3-0 ahead on the night and 3-2 ahead overall.

They were just over a minute away from going through when Federico Fazio flicked on a long throw and Mbia rose to crash a header into the net and silence the Valencia fans.

Dream 52 years in making

Benfica kept alive their dream of a first European trophy in 52 years after a goalless draw with Juventus in Turin on Thursday. Jorge Jesus’s side restricted the Serie A leaders to a handful of chances, despite having to play for 23 minutes of the second leg clash with 10 men after Enzo Perez was sent off.

The away side gave Juve a scare two minutes after the break when Rodrigo ballooned the ball over the bar from close range and with the goal at his mercy.

Perez was sent off after receiving a second booking for a silly foul on Arturo Vidal and his dismissal encouraged Juve to push forward. The home fans were celebrating with nine minutes remaining when Osvaldo tapped home Paul Pogba’s headed knockdown, but their joy was short-lived, with officials correctly ruling Frenchman Pogba offside.

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