Juventus draw with Sporting to book Europa semi-final spot



Fri, 21 Apr 2023 - 08:01 GMT


Fri, 21 Apr 2023 - 08:01 GMT

Juventus' Wojciech Szczesny and Angel Di Maria celebrate after the match REUTERS/Rodrigo Antunes

Juventus' Wojciech Szczesny and Angel Di Maria celebrate after the match REUTERS/Rodrigo Antunes

(Reuters) - An early goal by midfielder Adrien Rabiot earned Juventus a 1-1 draw with Sporting in an entertaining Europa League clash on Thursday to win their quarter-final 2-1 on aggregate and set up a semi-final clash with Sevilla.


Juventus, who saw their 15-point deduction in Serie A over the club's transfer dealings scrapped earlier on Thursday pending a new trial, had earned a 1-0 victory in the first leg with a second-half goal by defender Federico Gatti.


They will meet Sevilla in the semi-finals, with the Italians at home first on May 11 before the return leg in Spain on May 18, after the Spanish side knocked out Manchester United 5-2 on aggregate.


"We suffered, we did good things in the second half at the beginning, but we have to do better when it comes to our chances," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.


"We knew it would be difficult but we are bringing home a good result.


"I expected Sevilla (in the semi-finals) to be honest. They are a tricky team... They have won so many Europa Leagues so they definitely have an advantage. The signs from the last game (in Manchester) were in their favour, I had that feeling."


Juventus took an early lead through Rabiot who netted from close range after nine minutes following a corner.


Sporting winger Marcus Edwards equalised from the penalty spot in the 20th minute when he sent Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way with a strike into the middle of the goal after Rabiot was penalised for a tackle on Manuel Ugarte.


The Lisbon side had hit the woodwork moments before.


Sporting came close to taking a surprise lead and levelling the tie in the 35th minute when defender Ousmane Diomande connected with a corner but his header narrowly missed the target.


Just before halftime, Sporting winger Nuno Santos tried to square the ball inside the box coming from the left but Juve defender Gleison Bremer blocked the threat right in front of the diving Szczesny.


After the break Sporting pressed with confidence for possession but they squandered three more opportunities to level the match.


Ruben Amorim's side should have found the net in the 75th minute when defender Ricardo Esgaio latched on to a pass on the edge of the box only to see his volley fly over the bar, while Sebastian Coates spurned two more chances minutes from time.


Sporting have now completed a run of five home European matches without a win for the first time in the club's history, having recorded two losses and two draws in their previous four.


They have lost each of their last seven ties with Italian clubs.



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