Juventus’s disappointing season continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Nantes in the home leg of their Europa League playoff tie on Thursday.
Juventus picked up one win from six Champions League group matches to drop into the Europa League playoffs and after also being deducted 15 Serie A points for financial irregularities their fans have endured a miserable campaign.
The playoff came as welcome relief for the Turin giants against a side lying 13th in French Ligue 1 and the hosts raced into an early lead when Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic swept home Federico Chiesa’s header across goal.
Chiesa was unfortunate not to double his side’s advantage early in the second half after his powerful effort hit the underside of the crossbar, bounced on the goal line and came out.
Nantes capitalised on that let-off, however, to score a fine equaliser on the hour mark, Ludovic Blas slamming the ball into the net following a swift counter-attack.
The Nantes woodwork was again rattled when Angel Di Maria’s corner evaded everyone and clipped the crossbar, but a winner eluded Juve on another frustrating evening.
Record six-times Europa League winners Sevilla breezed past PSV Eindhoven with a 3-0 home win thanks to goals by Youssef En Nesyri, Lucas Ocampos and Nemanja Gudelj.
Going through a difficult season after being knocked out of the Champions League and having won only six matches in all competitions, Sevilla produced an impressive performance in their favourite competition.
In Lisbon, Portuguese champions Sporting had to fight back to draw 1-1 at home with Denmark’s Midtjylland.
Sporting controlled the tempo of the game but were not able to transform their dominance into goals. Pedro Goncalves missed a sitter in the first half and Paulinho had a goal ruled out in the second period for offside.
The Danish side scored in the 77th minute after a poor clearance from veteran Sporting goalkeeper Antonio Adan, Emam Ashour netting with a first-time shot from long range into the empty goal.
Sporting, however, managed to rescue a draw right on fulltime thanks to a scrambled close-range effort by Sebastian Coates.
Monaco captain Axel Disasi thundered in a stoppage-time goal to earn his team a 3-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen in their first leg.
The visitors took an unexpected ninth-minute lead when Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky, under pressure from Breel Embolo, lost control of a pass back, stumbled over the ball and sent it rolling into his own goal in a slapstick move.
But the hosts struck twice early in the second half to bounce back. Moussa Diaby slotted home through the legs of keeper Alexander Nuebel to level before teenager Florian Wirtz scored a superb solo goal.
Monaco, who came into the match on the back of a 3-1 Ligue 1 win over Paris St Germain, levelled with a missile from Krepin Diatta in the 74th minute before Disasi snatched the win for his team at the death.
Thursday evenings Europa League results (halftime score)
Ajax (0) 0 Union Berlin (0) 0
Salzburg (0) 1 Roma (0) 0
Barcelona (0) 2 Manchester United (0) 2
Shakhtar Donetsk (2) 2 Rennes (0) 1
Bayer Leverkusen (0) 2 Monaco (1) 3
Sevilla (1) 3 PSV (0) 0
Juventus (1) 1 Nantes (0) 1
Sporting CP (0) 1 Midtjylland (0) 1
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