The first legs of the Europa League quarterfinals drew most of the focus to the matches between Lyon and Juventus, which the Italians won 1-0 thanks to a Leonardo Bonucci goal, and the encounter between Porto and Sevilla, which was won by the Portuguese champions 1-0 thanks to a Eliaquim Mangala strike.
Juventus’ arena is the host of this season’s Europa League final which gives the Italian champions and league leaders an extra incentive to succeed in the competition that usually doesn’t mean that much to teams falling out of the Champions League.
Lyon might have some promising young talent on the team that will fill the national squad one day and will be playing in the Premier League, Spain and Italy very soon. However, at the moment, it’s not good enough for anything more than some decent performances from time to time in Ligue 1 and making it this far in the European competition.
The home side barely created any chances as Juventus dominated possession, unlike their usual away performances, and didn’t find it that difficult to create chances through the wings, despite missing key players like Lichtsteiner and Arutro Vidal. Juventus scored via a Andrea Pirlo set piece, as Leonardo Bonucci reacted among the confused Lyon defenders to put the ball in the net from six meters, which almost seals the deal and puts Juve in the competition’s semifinal.
A few hundred miles west of there (if not more) Porto were trying to put the disappointing league season behind them against Sevilla, a team on some sort of high following their win over Real Madrid in the previous weekend.
However, home and away Sevilla is a completely different team. They had only four shots at goal, only two reaching the target, while Porto dominated the midfield and scored quite early through a Quarema cross () that reached the head of Eliaquim Mangala, scoring the only goal of the match. Fernando of Porto was sent off late in the match as well.
Is it enough for Porto? Last season we saw them in a similarly dominant performance as they beat Malaga in the first leg of the Champions League’s round of 16. However, their away form is usually poor against teams of Sevilla’s caliber, which means this encounter, unlike the one involving Juventus and Lyon, is far from over.