Benfica hold off Juve to become Europa League favourites
Benfica and Sevilla both produced incredible performances on Thursday night to make it through to the Europa League final but it is the Portuguese side that is expected to be celebrating come the end of the tournament.
Benfica took a 2-1 lead to Italian champions, and tournament favourites, Juventus, and somehow managed to come away with a goalless draw from Turin. Conceding 19 shots on goal, 63% possession and having a man sent off in the 67th minute could not stop the Lisbon side progressing.
Knocking out the tournament favourites has seen Benfica take that mantle for themselves, and they are now a best price of just 8/11 with Paddy Power to lift the trophy. They will have the chance to do so, ironically, back in Turin as it is being played at Juventus Stadium, which is an added kick in the teeth for the Italians.
If Benfica’s rear-guard action caused tension, then Sevilla’s late show provided the drama. The Andalucians were 2-0 ahead after their home leg, but found themselves 3-0 behind going into the final minute of the away fixture. Up stepped Stephane Mbia to head home in the 95th minute and seal progression on away goals. Incredible.
Despite this battling performance, Sevilla are not fancied against the Portuguese champions and are out at 11/10 with Sky Bet to win the Europa League.