Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Juventus-Benfica Preview: Bianconeri on backfoot ahead of Turin final

Lima celebrates his goal against Juventus

One goal for Juventus against Benfica on Thursday could prove enough to see them contest the Europa League final on home turf.

A stunning Lima strike six minutes from time at the Estadio da Luz handed Benfica a slender advantage ahead of Thursday's second leg in Turin, but Carlos Tevez's away goal for Juve could potentially prove crucial.

Tevez's 73rd-minute strike, which equalised Ezequiel Garay's early opener, means a 1-0 win for Antonio Conte's team at the Juventus Stadium this week would put them through to the Europa League final at their own stadium on May 14.

However, Juve have struggled to keep clean sheets at home in European competition this term.

Although the Italian champions, who are on course for a third straight domestic title, have not been beaten in their six continental outings at home in 2013-14, they have just one shutout.

And Conte's side will face a buoyant Benfica outfit, who followed up their Primeira Liga title success last week by sealing their place in the Taca da Liga final with a win over rivals Porto on penalties at the weekend.

Benfica also have fine pedigree in the Europa League, and are the only unbeaten team left in this season's competition following the disappointment of losing last year's final to Chelsea.

Jorge Jesus' charges have won their last four European away fixtures, while Juve have won 21 and drawn three of their home games in all competitions this season, and could be crowned Serie A champions again this weekend.

Benfica, though, are on course for a quadruple, as they are in the finals of both the Taca da Liga and the Taca de Portugal and have won their last eight games including the Sunday's shootout success over Porto.

Arturo Vidal is a doubt for Juve with a knee injury while Ljubomir Fejsa (foot), Silvio (leg), Eduardo Salvio (arm) and Nicolas Gaitan (thigh) could all miss out for the visitors.

Juventus-Benfica Preview: Bianconeri on backfoot ahead of Turin final Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Unknown


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