Europa League Semifinal: Juventus vs. Benfica Preview

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Europa League Semifinal: Juventus vs. Benfica Preview
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Juventus players surround Claudio Marchisio after his decisive strike in the Europa League quarterfinal against Lyon.

Juventus and Benfica are so close they can taste it.

For the Italian giants, it's a chance to end an 18-year drought for European silverware and play the final in front of their own fans in Turin.

For the Portuguese power, it's a chance to end an even longer drought—52 years—and make amends for their agonizing last-second loss to Chelsea in last year's final.

This tie may be a disappointment to the observer who points out that the two best teams remaining in the tournament will not meet in the final.  The pairing will nevertheless produce a minimum of 180 minutes of fantastic soccer and provide the clear favorite in the final on May 14.

So who will emerge from this clash and claim a place in the final?  Let's take a closer look.

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