Benfica Opens as Slight Favourite

Published on May 1st, 2014 6:10 pm EST

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It was a remarkable day of action in Europa League as Sevilla and Benfica moved on to the finals, while Juventus and Valencia went home.

Heading into today, Juventus was considered the favourite to win the Europa League. Sure, they had lost the first leg of their semi-final match 2-1 to Benfica, but Juventus was heading home to play in front of their home fans and had managed to notch an away goal. In the end, however, Juventus and Benfica ended up playing to a 0-0 draw and Benfica moved on. This is an especially stinging blow for Juventus, as the Europa League final is going to take place at Juventus Stadium on Wednesday, May 14th. Juventus had plenty of chances to score on Thursday but they just weren't able to get one past Benfica's goalkeeper.

Valencia vs Sevilla was also a thrilling affair. Sevilla had won the first match 2-0 at home, meaning that Valencia would need to turn in an exceptional performance to move on. They were well on their way to getting that performance after moving ahead 3-0. In the 94th minute, however, disaster struck for Valencia as Stephane Mbia headed in a goal to make it 3-3 in aggregate. Thanks to their lone away goal, Sevilla was able to move on to the Europa League final.

It was truly a remarkable day of Europa League action.

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Here are the current betting odds for the final one-legged match between Sevilla and Benfica:

Sevilla, 2.87
Draw, 3.30
Benfica, 2.25

As you can see, Benfica has the very slight advantage in this contest, though the game is a virtual coinflip.

According to the bookmakers, the two likeliest outcomes of the Europa League final are:

1-1 draw, 7.00
Benfica 1-0, 8.00

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It is quite remarkable that three of the four teams in the finals of the major European Cup competitions (Champions League, Europa League) are from Spain. It's truly been an unbelievable year for Spanish football.

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