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UEFA Youth League semi-final report: Benfica and Salzburg set up Nyon decider

Benfica beat Juventus on penalties to reach a record-equalling fourth final, while Salzburg overwhelmed Atlético to ensure a rematch of the 2017 decider.

André Gomes is mobbed as Benfica celebrate victory
André Gomes is mobbed as Benfica celebrate victory UEFA

Benfica will play Salzburg in Monday's UEFA Youth League final after both teams won their last-four ties at Nyon's Colovray Stadium.

A penalty shoot-out success took Benfica past Juventus and into a record-equalling fourth final, while Salzburg cruised to a 5-0 win against Atlético de Madrid to ensure a rematch of the 2017 decider .. in which they defeated Benfica.

Watch UEFA Youth League highlights on UEFA.tv


Juventus 2-2 Benfica (3-4 pens)

Highlights: Juventus 2-2 Benfica (3-4 pens)
Highlights: Juventus 2-2 Benfica (3-4 pens)

Substitute Benfica goalkeeper André Gomes was the unlikely hero with two shoot-out saves as the Eagles kept up their perfect semi-final record in a topsy-turvy tie. The Portuguese side went ahead inside three minutes when Martim Neto – who also played in their 2020 last-four defeat of Ajax here – produced a cool finish after Italian midfielder Cher N'Dour robbed the Juve defence in possession for the fatest-ever finals goal. Luis Semedo soon made it two with a thumping finish into the top corner.

By the midway point in the first half, Juventus eventually settled and Ange Chibozo rattled the crossbar. Benfica then were reduced to ten men when goalkeeper Samuel Soares was dismissed for a foul on Gabriele Mulazzi, with André Gomes taking over. Now Juventus were dominant and, early in the second half, Chibozo pulled one back with a powerful shot from distance. The equaliser came with 20 minutes left and was also a spectacular finish, Riccardo Turricchia with a looping strike on the half-volley.

Reaction: Martim Neto
Reaction: Martim Neto

Benfica held on for penalties but looked in trouble when Nuno Félix hit the woodwork with their third kick. André Gomes immediately denied Nicolò Turco and, when he tipped Matías Soulé's effort past the post, Benfica had matched their achievement of 2013/14, 2016/17 and 2019/20 in getting past the last four.

Key stat: Benfica equal Chelsea's record of reaching four finals in the eight seasons of this competition. However, the Eagles have lost their three previous deciders.

Luís Castro, Benfica coach: "There was some suffering but a lot more quality and talent. There was a lot of talent in defending. We taught a lesson in how to defend. Playing with ten men does sap more energy, but the players are strong and will be ready for the final."

Atlético 0-5 Salzburg

Highlights: Atlético 0-5 Salzburg
Highlights: Atlético 0-5 Salzburg

Salzburg were on top from the start and took the lead with a quarter of an hour gone, Roko Simic producing a cool finish after Dijon Kameri had squared at the second attempt following a slick team move. Simic then doubled his tally 13 minutes later, converting the penalty himself after he was fouled in the box as a corner was taken.

Atlético began to get on the ball more, but an imposing Salzburg team added a third just before half-time, Simic turning provider for Dijon Kameri to unleash a thunderous strike. Salzburg reduced the pace in the second half, yet Tolgahan Sahin still made it four with a deflected shot from distance, and late on Oumar Diakite pounced to head in a Marcell Berki cross that had taken a big ricochet.

Wallner pride at Salzburg win
Wallner pride at Salzburg win

Key stat: Salzburg also beat Paris Saint-Germain and Atlético on the way to the 2017 final, where they faced (and defeated) Benfica.

Roko Simic, Salzburg forward: "I didn't expect this at all. Every player on the team played realy well today, it's thanks to them we won, not just me. Thanks to them I scored two goals and that made it easier. Even after it went 2-0 we believed in ourselves, we wanted to score more to make sure we went to the final. The final is there to win, not to lose, and I hope myself and the team are all ready to give their best on Monday."