Juventus snatch a draw against competition specialist Sevilla FC

The French midfielder of Juventus, Paul Pogba, in the fight with his compatriot, Loïc Bade, of Sevilla FC, on May 11, 2023, in Turin.

Juventus are doing well. Dominated by Sevilla FC, who held their feat, Thursday, May 11 in Turin, the “Old Lady” snatched the 1-1 draw after additional time in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final.

Faced with the holder of the record for titles in the competition (six in 2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2020), the Turinese can still believe in a final, but it is well paid, as Seville has been superior to the image of Youssef En-Nesyri’s goal: well launched in depth on the right side, Lucas Ocampos fixed before serving back into the box the Moroccan striker who took Wojciech Szczeny on the wrong foot with a low shot (26e). In difficulty this season in La Liga, where they are only 11e, the Andalusians have regained momentum since the arrival of José-Luis Mendilibar, who relieved Jorge Sampaoli on the bench at the end of March. Since then, he has had only one defeat in ten matches, and has released Manchester United in the quarter of the Europa League.

At first nothing seemed to bother the Spaniards in Turin. Nor the premature exit of Ocampos (34e) on injury. Nor the five changes made by the Italian coach, Mimiliano Allegri. The incoming Federico Chiesa, and especially Samuel Iling-Junior, tried to break through the defense, without success. It is perhaps the entry twenty minutes from the end of Paul Pogba which was the most beneficial for Juve: on the corner of the last chance, shot by Chiesa, deflected for the first time, it is the champion from the French world who headed towards Federico Gatti for the equalizer (90+7). Everything remains to be done next week in Andalusia.

Mourinho’s Roma takes an option

In the other semi-final, which was also played in Italy, AS Roma took the advantage over Bayer Leverkusen (1-0) in its Olimpico stadium. For the supporters of the Europa Conference League, the light came from young midfielder Edoardo Bove, 20. The native of Rome, trained with the Giallorossi, unblocked the situation in two stages, first accelerating full axis to serve Tammy Abraham then victoriously taking the ball pushed back on the shot from the English striker (63e). The Roman legend, Francesco Totti, seated in the stands, appreciated.

Roma’s Portuguese coach, European Cup specialist José Mourinho, then padlocked to keep that short but precious advantage, giving a lesson in efficiency to his ex-Real Madrid player, Xabi Alonso, today on the bench of Bayer Leverkusen.

The German club was not far, however, from taking advantage of a burning situation at the end of the match when Rui Patricio released a ball at the feet of Jérémie Frimpong, but Bryan Cristante replaced his goalkeeper just in front of the line (87e).

At the end of this first tight round, everything remains very open for the return to Germany between two teams who are betting on a victory in C3 to win qualification for the next Champions League, an objective which promises to be difficult to achieve via their respective championship. Bayer, beaten for the second time in a row after their league defeat on Friday that ended a 14-game unbeaten streak, have a week to regain their solidity.

French clubs thank West Ham

In Thursday’s other European competition, the Europa League Conference, English club West Ham did French football a favor by beating Dutch side AZ Alkmaar (2-1), a result that allowed France to retain his precious fifth place in the UEFA coefficient. The Netherlands could take this position provided that AZ Alkmaar won the two matches (home and away) of their semi-final against West Ham, then the final of this C4, all without going through a test. shots on goal.

In the event of a fall at 6e place of the UEFA coefficient, Ligue 1 would have lost a place in the Champions League set up from the 2024-2025 season. Only three of its representatives would have been qualified for the big European Cup (two directly and one in the preliminary round), against four (three directly and one in the preliminary round) as provided for in the reform for the fifth European country.

West Ham prevented this scenario by winning at the London Stadium, despite Tijjani Reijnders’ Dutch opener shortly before the break with a heavy strike that left Hammers’ French goalkeeper Alphone Areola ( 25e). The Londoners, undefeated in the competition, first equalized on a penalty converted by Said Benrahma (67e), then took the lead thanks to their striker Michail Antonio (76e). Both teams will play their place in the final next week in the Netherlands.


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A final which could see the surprise team of FC Basel – which took out OGC Nice in the previous round – victorious on the lawn of Fiorentina (2-1), in the other semi-final first leg. La Viola dominating, but messy, logically opened the scoring, after a corner, by the Brazilian Arthur Cabral with a powerful header (25e). The Basel equalized in the 71ste by the young Frenchman Andy Diouf (19 years old) before making the difference by Zeki Amdouni in additional time (90+3).

The World with AFP

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