Juventus know that over the next two games, one of them is going to be played in front of their hometown crowd. The thing is, they don't want just one more European home game. They want two. They want the Europa League final to become a home game, not just some game a couple of other teams will be playing in their stadium.
(Even though Juve would technically be the away side in their own stadium if they get to the Europa League final, but that's just the way the draw went. Ain't nothing they can do about that.)
But there's one thing they need to do to get that goal.
Yeah, score more goals than Benfica over the next 180-plus minutes.
Tonight, the first leg of Juventus' semifinal journey in the Europa League gets underway. And just let it was in the quarterfinals, Juventus will be the away side in search of an away goal or two. That's the plan at least. We saw what an away goal did in the quarterfinals against Lyon, as Juve were able to come home a week later with a lead in their back pocket.
Which one will it be?
Will Juventus snatch an away goal in the fashion they did a few weeks ago?
Or will they leave it to the second leg at Juventus Stadium with everything to play for?
#Buffon: "It's not often you have the opportunity to play the final at home. It's something that matters a lot to us." #BenficaJuve #UEL— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 23, 2014
Nothing will be easy. It's the semifinals of the Europa League. If it wasn't going to be difficult, then you're probably playing on amateur level on FIFA14 or something like that. Just a hunch I've got.
Lineups for both teams will be posted RIGHT HERE when they become available. That's all for now. Apologies if you were expecting a Simone Padoin joke. Sometimes the comedy can be saved for a later date. Like when Padoin scores the game-winning goal in the 89th minute and crushes Benfica's collective hearts.
Yeah, about no jokes...
UPDATE: LINEUPS ARE IN!
Juventus XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Tevez, Vucinic
Juventus bench: Storari, Ogbonna, Barzagli, Padoin, Giovinco, Llorente, Osvaldo
Benfica (4-3-3): Artur; Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Siqueira; L Markovic, Perez, Andre Gomes; Rodrigo, Oscar Cardozo, Sulejmani
Benfica bench: Oblak, Jardel, Andre Almeida, Ruben Amorim, Djuricic, Ivan Cavaleiro, Lima
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