Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Juventus-Lyon headlines UEFA Europa League quarterfinal draw

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Juventus was the team everyone wanted to avoid in Friday´s draw, with Antonio Conte´s side currently 14 points clear in Serie A and likely to retain its Italian title with some ease. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone/AP)<br />
Juventus was the team everyone wanted to avoid in Friday's draw, with Antonio Conte's side currently 14 points clear in Serie A and likely to retain its Italian title with some ease. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone/AP)

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Juventus was drawn to face Lyon in the Europa League quarterfinals as the Italian champions look to stay on course to play the final in their own stadium. 

FC Porto will meet Sevilla in a matchup between two former winners, while 2013 runner-up Benfica will take on AZ Alkmaar and FC Basel will play Valencia. 

Juventus was the team everyone wanted to avoid in Friday's draw, with Antonio Conte's side currently 14 points clear in Serie A and likely to retain its Italian title with some ease. 

Lyon won seven straight league championships in France from 2002-08 but isn't the force of old and will be the underdog over the two legs on April 3 and 10. 

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  • "It's a big one for us, how exciting to play in games like these," Lyon forward Jimmy Briand said on his Twitter page. 

    Juventus, which was bumped into the Europa League after finishing third in its Champions League group, has added motivation to win Europe's second-tier competition for a fourth time as the final is to be held at Juventus Stadium on May 14. 

    Sevilla, winner of the UEFA Cup - the pre-cursor of the Europa League - in 2006 and '07, came through a penalty shootout against local rival Real Betis in the last 16 on Thursday and was rewarded with a match against 2011 champion Porto. 

    Portuguese leader Benfica is looking to reach the final for the second straight season and will be favored to at least qualify for the semifinals, with AZ arguably the weakest team left in the competition. 

    If Basel gets past Valencia, the Swiss team will emulate its run to the semifinals last season that ended with a loss against Chelsea.

    The Associated Press
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