Sunday, February 25, 2024

Europa League: Sevilla mount dramatic late comeback to hold Man Utd

Six-time winners Sevilla fought back from two goals down to secure a draw thanks to a pair of late own goals against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Europa League quarterfinal first leg.
In another match, Federico Gatti’s first goal for Juventus gave the Italian side a narrow win in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against an impressive Sporting CP.
The hosts started brightly and had the ball in the net in the opening 30 seconds, but Jadon Sancho’s effort was ruled out for offside.
The speed with which United broke for that attack gave Sevilla a warning of what was to come. With 14 minutes gone a neat passing move culminated in Bruno Fernandes’ slide-rule pass picking out Marcel Sabitzer on the edge of the area.
The Austrian international controlled it superbly with his right foot, before rifling a left-footed strike that deflected off Marcão and looped into the net.
Seven minutes later and the midfielder had doubled his, and the Red Devils’ tally on the night. Anthony Martial, making his first start in three months, was instrumental in the home side’s quick counter, eventually providing the defence-splitting pass for Sabitzer to advance and coolly place his shot out of reach of the advancing Bounou, according to information available on the UEFA Europa League website.
Sevilla burst into life late on and halved their deficit when substitute Jesús Navas sent in a low centre that struck Tyrell Malacia and then De Gea on its way into the roof of the net.
The introduction of top scorer Youssef En-Nesyri had given the visitors an outlet in the penalty area, the substitute brilliantly denied by the home goalkeeper moments later.
Sevilla kept coming and Lucas Ocampos’ high, hanging ball from the right in added time was perfect for En-Nesyri to attack. The Moroccan international’s powerful header deflected off the unfortunate Harry Maguire and wrong-footed De Gea, giving the visitors an unlikely draw to take back to Spain.
Narrow win for Juve
In Turin, despite both sides picking attacking teams and employing positive tactics, this match turned into a fascinating battle, Federico Chiesa having an early effort saved by Sporting goalkeeper Antonio Adán after expertly controlling a searching diagonal ball from Ángel Di María.
Sporting gradually grew into the game and Sebastián Coates tested Wojciech Szczesny at the other end with an acrobatic far-post volley.
The home goalkeeper was also equal to a near-post effort from Pedro Gonçalves while Nuno Santos had a low drive cleared off the line by Gleison Bremer.
Szczesny was withdrawn shortly before half-time, and his replacement Mattia Perin was quickly into the action, keeping out a curling Pedro Gonçalves effort early in the second period.
Juventus grew more threatening as the half wore on, Chiesa causing Sporting plenty of trouble down the left, and one of those runs indirectly led to the only goal 17 minutes from time.
Adán was tempted out to try to collect Nicolò Fagioli’s deep corner only to miss the ball, and though Dušan Vlahovic’s subsequent header was blocked on the line by Coates, Gatti was on hand to force in.
Sporting almost snatched a dramatic equaliser deep into added time as Perin produced a superb double save, first keeping out Pedro Gonçalves’ close-range effort and then springing up to block Héctor Bellerin’s follow-up on the line, to ensure Juventus will have a lead to defend in Portugal next week.

Szczesny struggles to breathe during Sporting CP match

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny revealed that he had to be replaced in the 1-0 win over Sporting CP as he was struggling to breathe in the first half. Federico Gatti’s goal was the difference for Juventus in the UEFA Europa League quarterfinal on Thursday.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri ended the first leg with Mattia Perin between the sticks after he replaced Szczesny in the 44th minute. The Pole required medical attention after he suddenly clutched his chest. After the medical intervention, Szczesny left the pitch in tears with a standing ovation from the fans.

Florian Wirtz’s goal helps Leverkusen hold Saint-Gilloise

Bayern Leverkusen managed a 1-1 draw with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise at home after Florian Wirtz equalised Victor Boniface’s opener in the first leg of the quarterfinals.
Leverkusen mounted a series of aggressive attacks before the break, but Moussa Diaby’s shot narrowly missed the target, and Piero Hincapie squandered a promising header from close range.
Saint-Gilloise punished Leverkusen for their wastefulness in front of the goal 51 minutes in when Teddy Teuma’s through ball allowed Boniface to slot home from inside the box into the far bottom corner. Leverkusen was stunned and struggled to respond as Saint-Gilloise kept all their men behind the ball to maintain the narrow lead.
The hosts found it difficult to penetrate Saint-Gilloise’s well-organized defense and had to wait until the 83rd minute when Wirtz unleashed a 20-meter strike to secure a 1-1 draw in front of the home crowd.


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