UEFA Europa League 2014: Semifinals get underway with Benfica hosting Juventus

Valerio Pennicino

Whoever wins the tie between Benfica and Juventus will be favored in the final. In the other matchup, Valencia need this trophy to salvage their season, while Sevilla have to juggle domestic concerns.

Juventus were probably aiming at a Champions League semifinal appearance when this season started, but given that the Europa League final is at their home stadium, they've decided to take Europe's secondary competition seriously. They have run into a difficult opponent, Portuguese Liga champions Benfica. Even more so than Juventus, who have virtually (but not mathematically) clinched a league title, Benfica don't have to worry about their domestic league anymore and can put all of their resources into winning this title.

The winner of that tie will be the favorite in the final no matter who wins the other semifinal tie. Sevilla have been very solid domestically and in Europe this season, but they're hardly chasing down the title contenders in Spain. Valencia, meanwhile, have been extremely disappointing in La Liga, though that may help them here as they focus on the cup at hand.

Sevilla have a huge match against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend while Valencia have nothing left to play for in the league. Los Che can go all-out in this match, while Sevilla has to weigh up the costs and benefits of resting players. The reward for giving Valencia and opening of the first leg of their Europa League tie could very well be a trip to the Champions League if they can beat Athletic on Sunday.

Both games kick off at 3 p.m. ET. That's 7 p.m. local time in Lisbon and 8 p.m. local time in Seville.

Benfica vs. Juventus

TV: FOX Sports 1 (U.S.), ITV 4 (U.K.), Sportsnet regional (Canada), Sky Calcio 1 (Italy), SIC (Portugal)

Sevilla vs. Valencia

TV: FOX Sports 2 (U.S. - English), FOX Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), Sportsnet World (Canada), Cuatro (Spain)

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