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Leonardo Bonucci gives Juve 1-0 win over Lyon in Europa League quarterfinal
Last year's runners-up also 1-0 winners over Dutch side AZ Alkmaar
Bad night for Spanish sides as both Sevilla and Valencia lose their away ties
Juventus scored a late goal to secure a 1-0 win against Lyon at the Stade de Gerland in the Europa League quarterfinal first leg on Thursday.
The mountain that Lyon coach Remi Garde said his team had to climb in the build-up to the match got a little steeper as Leonardo Bonucci scored a precious away goal in the 85th minute.
A scrappy game looked destined to end goalless after Juve substitute Mirko Vucinic – on for Carlos Tevez – squandered a great chance six minutes before the end, shooting over the bar from close range.
But Bonucci spared the Montenegrin’s blushes moments later firing home at the far post following an Andrea Pirlo corner.
Victory gives Antonio Conte’s team, who are currently eight points clear in the Serie A, the edge going into next week’s second leg in Turin.
“It was tough as Lyon were trying to stop us from playing with man-marking all over the field,” Conte said.
“I think the victory is a deserved result, but we know that we have achieved nothing yet, there is a second leg to play and a semifinal to achieve.”
Portugal’s Benfica also grabbed a vital away goal to beat Dutch side AZ Alkmaar 1-0 at the AFAS Stadion.
Argentine forward Eduardo Salvio’s 48th-minute strike keeps Jorge Jesus’ side on course for a second consecutive final in the competition.
Fellow Primeira Liga side Porto were also 1-0 winners, defeating Spanish side Sevilla at the Estadio do Dragao – center-back Eliaquim Mangala with the goal after 31 minutes.
The competition’s other remaining La Liga side, Valencia also had a night to forget.
Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side went down 3-0 at to Basel at St Jakob-Park in a match played behind closed doors.
The Swiss side was penalized by UEFA after fans threw fireworks onto the pitch in their last 16 match against Salzburg.
Basel all but booked their place in the semifinals thanks to a first-half brace from Argentine midfielder Matias Emilio Delgado before Valentin Stocker added a third in injury time.
The second legs of all four matches will take place on Thursday April 10.