Juventus tops Lyon to reach Europa semifinals
Turin, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Juventus advanced to the Europa League semifinals with a 2-1 second-leg and 3-1 aggregate victory over French side Lyon on Thursday at Juventus Stadium.
After Leonardo Bonucci's goal last week gave Juventus a 1-0 first-leg lead at the Stade de Gerland, the hosts came out with loads of attacking intent and struck first just three minutes into the contest.
Carlos Tevez worked his way to the edge of the penalty area and was dragged down, resulting in a free kick in a dangerous spot.
Andrea Pirlo stepped up and whipped a brilliant free kick over the Lyon wall and into the top left corner past goalkeeper Anthony Lopes for a 1-0 second- leg and 2-0 aggregate lead.
Lyon, however, responded quickly to get back into the tie in the 17th minute when Alexandre Lacazette's short corner kick was lofted into the penalty area by Arnold Mvuemba. Jimmy Briand did well to stay onside and nod it past Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to make it 2-1 on aggregate.
The visitors created some excellent scoring chances in the second 45 minutes, with their best opportunity coming on the hour mark as Mvuemba lined up for a free kick on the edge of the area and hit one that looked ticketed for the top left corner, but Buffon did well to parry it away.
Eight minutes later, Juventus sealed its place in the semifinals when a well- hit strike from Claudio Marchisio from distance took a wicked deflection of Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti and flew into the bottom right corner for a 2-1 lead on the night and 3-1 margin on aggregate.
Things got physical in the final 10 minutes as Juventus held on for the victory to become the first Italian side to reach the Europa League semifinals in seven years.
Also in Europa League play on Thursday, Rodrigo scored on either side of the intermission as Benfica cruised into the semifinals with a 3-0 aggregate win over AZ Alkmaar, while Sevilla overturned a 1-0 first-leg loss to top FC Porto, 4-2.
Finally, Paco Alcacer scored a hat trick, including the winner in extra time, as Valencia overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit to earn a remarkable 5-3 aggregate result over FC Basel.
04/10 17:35:29 ET