20 April 2023
Juventus have secured qualification into this year’s Europa League semi-finals following a 1-1 draw against Sporting CP at the José Alvalade Stadium. Adrien Rabiot’s early strike inside 10 minutes was cancelled out by Marcus Edward’s penalty kick, yet Federico Gatti’s winner in the first leg proved vital as the Bianconeri progressed 2-1 on aggregate.
Mister Allegri opted to field an attacking trident featuring Federico Chiesa, Angel Di Maria and Dušan Vlahović, knowing full-well his side could not sit on the 1-0 lead from the first leg played a week prior.
Yet it would free-scoring Frenchman Adrien Rabiot who would give the Bianconeri the lead, the midfielder reacting quickest to a loose ball in the box following Juve’s first corner of the match, turning in his 11th goal of the season just nine minutes into the encounter.
Ten minutes later, however, Juve’s goalscorer was adjudged to have taken down Manuel Ugarte in the Sporting box, as the hosts were awarded a spot-kick. Edwards stepped up to the mark, sending Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way to make it 1-1.
The Portuguese side, backed by a vocal home crowd, rode the momentum from their equaliser as they looked to get back into the tie, enjoying a decent spell of possession in attack, but failing to make their half-chances count. Diomande rose highest from Sporting’s fifth corner of the match in the 35th minute, but could only guide his headed effort wide of the right-hand upright.
The visitors began the second half with positive intent, Vlahović involved in the thick of the action as he twice came close to registering his name on the scoresheet, narrowly failing to head Juan Cuadrado’s cross from the right-hand side on target before having a strike on goal deflected out for a corner minutes later.
The Serb would then combine well the lively Chiesa, the Italian latching onto his teammate's pass, but could not keep his shot down as he watched it sail over the bar.
With 20 minutes to go, Coach Allegri made a triple substitution, bringing on Paul Pogba and Arek Milik to add to the attack, while an injury to Bremer saw first-leg scorer Federico Gatti added to the fray.
In desperate need of a goal, the home side continued their attacking intent, with a heart-in-mouth moment for the Bianconeri as Danilo misjudged a ball in the box, allowing Ricardo Esgaio to slip in behind, yet the right-back could only drag his shot on goal wide.
It was nervy end to the game for Juventus as an unmarked Sebastian Coates blazed a volley over the bar from close range, before failing to connect cleanly with a neatly-played ball over the top on 90 minutes as Alex Sandro hoofed away the danger.
Juventus remained resolute, seeing out the match to secure the 2-1 aggregate victory, and a date with Sevilla in the Last Four of this season’s Europa League.
Sporting CP - Juventus 1-1
SCORERS: 9' Rabiot (J), 20' Edwards (S)
SPORTING: Adan; Diomande, Inacio (71' Matheus Reis), Coates; Esgaio, Ugarte, Morita, Santos (87' Arthur Gomes); Trincao (81' Chermiti), Edwards, Gonçalves. Unused subs: Diogo Pinto, Israel, Alexandropoulos, Luis Neto, Rochinha, Fatawu Issahaku, Bellerin, Tanlongo, Dario Essugo. Coach: Amorim
JUVENTUS: Szczesny; Cuadrado, Danilo, Bremer (71' Gatti), Alex Sandro; Rabiot, Locatelli, Miretti (71' Pogba); Di Maria, Vlahovic (71' Milik), Chiesa (78' Kostic). Unused subs: Perin, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Bonucci, Rugani, Soulé, Paredes, Fagioli. Coach: Allegri
BOOKINGS: Ugarte, Edwards (S), Gatti, Pogba (J)