Juventus picked up an extremely late goal to level the score against Sevilla on Thursday. The draw now means that the Europa League semifinal matchup is completely up for grabs. Red-hot striker Youssef En-Nesyri scored for the visitors, while Federico Gatti grabbed Juve’s goal late in added time.
Both clubs entered the semifinal stage enduring fairly tough campaigns. Juventus has been in the news this season for all the wrong reasons. Financial issues have essentially put a dark cloud over the club. Sevilla’s problems, on the other hand, are on the pitch. The Spanish side is sitting a disappointing 11th in LaLiga. Nevertheless, one of these teams can end the current campaign on a significant high note.
Moroccan striker scores 16th goal since start of January
After a fast start to the game by both sides, Sevilla struck first in the 26th minute. Lucas Ocampos sent in a clever cross inside of the Juventus box after collecting the ball racing toward goal on a counter-attack. Bryan Gil stepped over the pass to allow the ball to travel to En-Nesyri.
The Morocco international then slotted his shot across goal and into the back of the net. It was the forward’s 16th total goal of 2023 for his club. Unfortunately for the visitors, Ocampos had to be substituted because of an injury just eight minutes later.
Sevilla could have doubled the lead before halftime with efforts from Ivan Rakitic and En-Nesyri. The former Barcelona midfielder struck a swerving long-range shot toward goal in the 39th minute that was tipped over the crossbar by Wojciech Szczesny. En-Nesyri then hit another shot, also from outside of the box, just wide of the Poland goalkeeper’s post before the halftime whistle.
Juventus breaks Sevilla hearts with last touch of game
As comfortable as the visitors were in the opening period, they couldn’t get going to start the second half. Instead, Juve came out of the break with most of the ball in Sevilla’s territory. Substitute Samuel Iling-Junior provided a much-needed spark for the hosts. The Old Lady finally managed to truly test Bono in goal two-thirds of the way through the match. The Moroccan keeper made a solid save on an Iling-Junior shot in the 64th minute.
However, Juventus waited until the final moments of the match to get its goal. Paul Pogba was able to get his head on the ball after a corner kick was taken. The ball lifted over Bono and the Sevilla defense straight to an open Gatti. The Italian defender headed it into the open net from only inches from the goal line.
Despite Sevilla’s lead being fairly comfortable throughout the game, they now must win to advance to the final. The tie resumes next Thursday to decide which team moves on to Budapest.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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