11 May 2023
Leonardo Bonucci made his 500th appearance in the black and white stripes, but it was his replacement who grabbed the headlines with a last-gasp equaliser for Juventus against Sevilla. Federico Gatti pounced inside stoppage time to score for a second consecutive European night at the Allianz Stadium as the first leg of the Europa League semi-final finished 1-1.
The Spanish side took the lead on 26 minutes through Youssef En-Nesyri. At the interval Massimiliano Allegri made two changes and it would be substitutes linking up that set up, Gatti, who took over from Captain Bonucci on 62', that left the tie on a knife's edge.
An electric atmosphere welcomed the teams out on the pitch at the Allianz Stadium. Both teams displayed their intentions early to hit at pace, with Filip Kostić and Ángel Di María linking up with Dušan Vlahović. For Sevilla, the main threat came from Lucas Ocampos, who forced Wojciech Szczęsny into two early saves from headers. The second save, a one-handed parry, was especially worthy of note.
Immediately after, Vlahović had his first sight of goal. Although the flag was eventually raised for offside, the striker was thwarted twice in quick succession by Yassine Bounou. The Sevilla goalkeeper was cut out in Juve’s next attack. A low cross from Kostić on the left was placed out of reach of Bounou, whose presence did enough to unsettle Vlahović as he shot over with the goal gaping.
Ocampos missed a similar chance at the other end but two minutes later the hosts took the lead. This time Ocampos led a counter attack and delivered a low pass into the penalty area. A Bryan Gil dummy saw the ball arrive at the feet of Youssef En-Nesyri, who had time to pick his spot as he slotted his shot beyond Szczęsny on 26 minutes.
Juventus were clearly rocked at finding themselves a goal down but dug deep to hold firm and keep Sevilla at a safe distance for the remainder of the opening half. In fact it was from distance that Szczęsny was called into action again, on 40 minutes when Ivan Rakitić’s vicious swerver almost deceived the Juve keeper.
At the interval Massimiliano Allegri made two substitutions, Federico Chiesa and Samuel Iling-Junior. The two forwards immediately gave the Bianconeri momentum going forward. Chiesa was inches away from making contact with a long-ball played into the area, while Iling jinked his way into the box but his cut-back didn’t find a teammate.
On 63 minutes it was Iling, however, who tested Bounou with a low drive from the edge of the area. It would be two other substitutes that would be fundamental in Juve levelling on the night.
Sevilla were happy to sit deeper and deeper in a bid to hold onto their lead, and the tactic was effective as Juve were denied any clear cut chances. But the never-say-die spirit came to the fore again.
With the last attack of the match, Chiesa won a corner, which he took himself. Paul Pogba played a header back across the face of goal, and from close range, Federico Gatti pounced with a crucial goal. In seven days the return leg in Andalusia will decide which of the two teams makes it to the final, in what is nothing less than a winner-takes-all.
JUVENTUS 1-1 SEVILLA (HT: 0-1)
Scorers: 26′ En-Nesyri, 90’+7′ Gatti
JUVENTUS: Szczęsny; Danilo, Bonucci (61′ Gatti), Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Miretti (46′ Chiesa), Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic (46′ Iling); Di Maria (69′ Pogba); Vlahovic (61′ Milik). Subs not used: Pinsoglio, Perin, Kean, Rugani, Soulé, Paredes, Fagioli. Coach: Allegri
SEVILLA: Bounou; Jesus Navas, Badé, Gudelj, Acuna; Fernando, Rakitic; Ocampos (34′ Montiel), Oliver Torres (73′ Gomez), Bryan Gil (81′ Lamela); En-Nesyri. Subs not used: Dimitrovic, Alberto Flores, Alex Telles, Rekik, Rafa Mir, Bueno. Coach: Mendilibar
Bookings: 42′ Rabiot, 71′ Rakitic, 77′ Locatelli, 78′ Bryan Gil, 79′ Chiesa, 82′ Badé, Lamela 90+5’