Juventus's hopes of playing in the UEFA Europa League final in their own stadium were dashed as ten-men SL Benfica held the Bianconeri to a goalless draw to book a return to Turin for the 14 May showpiece.
After winning the first leg in Lisbon 2-1, Jorge Jesus's side limited the Italian champions to a handful of scoring opportunities during the first half and continued to defend well even after Enzo Pérez was sent off for a second bookable offence with 23 minutes to play. The Portuguese side will thus play in a second consecutive UEFA Europa League final, after losing against Chelsea FC last year.
Benfica started on the front foot, as they did in the first leg in Lisbon, when they took an early lead, but Juventus were not taken by surprise this time around. The Eagles' Jan Oblak was the first goalkeeper called into action after eight minutes as he dived to palm over Andrea Pirlo's powerful shot from the edge of the box.
With Paul Pogba dominating midfield, Juventus attacked with increasing intensity. Arturo Vidal sent a volley over from a cross by Pirlo, and Carlos Tévez was off target after a nice headed pass from attacking partner Fernando Llorente. Antonio Conte's men came close to breaking the deadlock a minute from the interval as Leonardo Bonucci headed towards the far post from a Pirlo free-kick, but Tévez narrowly failed to connect with the ball with the goal at his mercy. Then Vidal headed a cross from Kwadwo Asamoah past Oblak but Luisão saved his goalkeeper, heading over from under the shadow of the crossbar.
Benfica had a great opportunity to take the lead after the break but Rodrigo fired over from promising position. At the other end Pirlo forced Oblak to make a difficult save with a dangerous free-kick from distance. Centre-back Ezequiel Garay and Luisão were unbeatable in the air as Juve started to send in more crosses but everything became more difficult for the visitors when Pérez was booked twice in six minutes to leave his side with ten men.
Jorge Jesus reacted quickly replacing Rodrigo with André Almeida, with Conte countering by sending on forward Sebastian Giovinco for centre-back Bonucci. Another Juventus substitute, Pablo Osvaldo, then found the net but the goal was ruled out for offside, and Oblak fended away a dangerous Martín Cáceres header as the clock ticked down.
Benfica's celebrations began soon afterwards, and they can only hope that they will have a bigger party to come when they return to Turin.
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