Benfica vs. Juventus: Final score 2-1, Eagles grab win in first leg of Europa League semi

Jamie McDonald

Benfica got the win they needed, setting the stage for a great second leg.

Benfica needed a win at home in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal and that is exactly what they got, even if they left it until late. Lima struck in the 84th minute with a great shot to send Benfica past Juventus, 2-1, and put them in the driver's seat going to Turin for the second leg.

The Eagles took the upperhand early, with Ezequiel Garay scoring just two minutes into the match. The towering centerback was able to shed his marker with ease then head home a corner kick to put the home side in front.

Especially once Benfica scored, Juventus knew that the key for them was scoring a goal. Even if Benfica scored again and they lost by a goal, they needed to have an away goal in hand going home and they attacked with numbers looking to get that tally.

With Juventus pushing for a goal, the match was plenty open and both teams got chances. Artur made a handful of good saves and got some help from a couple good blocks by his defenders to keep The Old Lady out.

It looked like Benfica would sneak away with a cleansheet, be it with good defending and goalkeeping or luck, but things turned in the 73rd minute. A dragbacked cross for Carlos Tevez found the Argentinean, who slyly sidestepped two defenders before sliding the ball past Artur and into the net for the equalizer.

Benfica couldn't afford to go to Italy without a lead and having conceded an away goal so they pressed hard for another tally and six minutes from time, it came. A dummy gave Lima a chance to run onto a ball from 15 yards and he did just that, blasting a shot into the top of the net with his first touch to earn Benfica a win.

All is not well for Benfica, who only won by a single goal and allowed an away goal, but it gives them a chance to win the tie with a draw in the second leg. For Juventus, they will have to find two goals or win 1-0, neither of which is too much to ask of them back at home.

Benfica: Artur, Luisao, Pereira, Siqueira, Garay, Gomes (Cavaleiro 82'), Perez, Markovic, Cardozo (Lima 62'), Selejmani (Almeida 60'), Rodrigo.

Goals: Garay 2', Lima 84'.

Juventus: Buffon, Chiellini, Caceres, Bonucci, Pogba, Marchisio, Pirlo, Asamoah, Lichtsteiner (Vucinic 65'), Tevez (Osvaldo 83').

Goals: Tevez 73'.

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