The second leg games of the Europa League Round of 16 took place yesterday with Juventus sealing its spot after a mostly drama-free 2-0 win over Freiburg in Germany.
We took a look at the seven clubs that proceeded to the next round along with the Bianconeri, and it’s indeed a varied field with clubs that we are very familiar with, and some that we don’t know that well at all.
In the draw conducted at UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland this afternoon, Juventus ended up getting drawn against a team that against all odds upset the Premier League leaders Arsenal, with Sporting Clube de Portugal needing a penalty shootout to progress after holding them to a 2-2 draw in Lisbon before coming from behind in a 1-1 tie in London yesterday.
Today’s drawing not only decided who plays who in the quarters, it also mapped out the path to the final, and if Juve beat Sporting, then they will face the winners of Manchester United versus six-time winners Sevilla in the semis. The other half of the draw is Bayer Leverkusen against Union Saint Gilloise and Feyenoord against AS Roma.
The first leg of the Quarter Final tie will take place on Thursday, April 13 in Turin, with the two teams then squaring off in Portugal a week later on April 20.
Sporting, managed by Ruben Amorim, sit in 4th place in their domestic league Liga NOS, four points adrift of Braga in third. It is in Europe however where they have done their best work this season. Juve do not have fond memories of Portuguese opposition, having been beaten twice by Benfica this season in the Champions League group stages and eliminated at the quarter finals stage of the same competition in 2020/21 by Porto.
The last times the two teams met was actually in the group stages of the Champions League in 2017/18, with Juve prevailing 2-1 at home and drawing 1-1 away, a pair of results they would gladly take right now.
Former player Gianluca Pessotto, at the draw as a club representative, commented on the Bianconeri’s next opponents.
“It will be a nice game, surely against a strong opponent. They proved it yesterday eliminating Arsenal, one of the contenders for the victory. Sporting also come from the Champions League, so they’ll be willing to do well, like us.
“The feeling is that it was a tough draw. Sporting are a young and strong team, they are in a good moment even if they are behind Benfica in the league. If we go ahead, we’ll meet Manchester United or Sevilla who are also strong but we are Juventus so we must fight until the end. Our opponents are surely worried as well.”