Football: Llorente consigns Juventus to second place

Juventus' French midfielder Paul Pogba reacts after missing a goal opportunity.
Juventus' French midfielder Paul Pogba reacts after missing a goal opportunity.PHOTO: AFP

SEVILLE, Spain (AFP) – Fernando Llorente came back to haunt his old side Juventus as Sevilla sealed their shot at another Europa League title with a 1-0 win over the Italian champions on Tuesday.

Victory for Unai Emery’s men allied to Manchester City’s come-from-behind 4-2 win against Borussia Moenchengladbach propelled Sevilla into third place in Group D and a place in the competition they have won for the past two years.

Meanwhile, defeat for Juventus means they could face the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona or Real Madrid in the last 16 as they slipped to second in the group.

Last season’s beaten finalists were left to rue a series of missed chances as they suffered a first defeat in eight games.

Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico was alive early on to claw away Stefano Sturaro’s header.

However, at the other end Gianluigi Buffon showed his reflexes haven’t waned with age as he made a fine double save from Llorente and Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Juventus’ Spanish international Alvaro Morata then missed the first of a number of chances on a night to forget on his return to Spain as he prodded wide from Paulo Dybala’s knockdown.

And Rico stood tall again to turn Dybala’s free-kick to safety just before half-time.

Sevilla started stronger after the break and were rewarded 25 minutes from time when Llorente flicked Konoplyanka’s cross into the far corner for just his fourth goal since leaving Juventus in August.

The hosts then had to withstand a Juventus onslaught in the final 10 minutes as Dybala hit the crossbar, whilst Rico produced another brilliant save from Paul Pogba.

The visitors had one final chance in stoppage time, but Morata again failed to hit the target as their chances of avoiding Europe’s elite in Monday’s draw for the knockout stages slipped away.