Pirlo fires Juve into Europa League quarters
Florence, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Andrea Pirlo gave Juventus a 1-0 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday as his 71st-minute free kick helped the Old Lady advance to the Europa League quarterfinals at the expense of Fiorentina.
The two sides were level at a goal apiece after the first leg, and Juventus was given the upper hand in the 69th minute when Gonzalo Javier Rodriguez was sent off for a second bookable offense.
The infraction occurred within scoring range for Pirlo, and the dead-ball specialist made the home side pay as he fired a superb free kick into the upper corner for the only goal of the match.
Lyon suffered a 2-1 loss at Viktoria Plzen on Thursday but still managed to advance by a 5-3 aggregate score, and Nacer Chadli's brace in Tottenham's 2-2 draw at Benfica was not enough to see the Premier League side through as it bowed out of the competition behind a 5-3 aggregate score.
Aron Johansson's goal in the opening leg held up as the winner as AZ Alkmaar and Anzhi played to a 0-0 draw in Russia on Thursday while Valencia's 1-0 defeat of Ludogorets saw the La Liga club cruise to the quarterfinals behind a 4-0 aggregate score.
Also on Thursday, Napoli's 2-2 draw with FC Porto at the Stadio San Paolo saw the Portuguese club advance after its 1-0 win in the opening leg, FC Basel came from behind to get a 2-1 win at Red Bull Salzburg and advance to the quarters following a scoreless draw in the first leg, and Sevilla needed penalties to dispatch Real Betis after both sides earned 2-0 road wins in the tie.
03/20 18:50:17 ET