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Soccer-Late Lima strike gives Benfica win over Juve

Reuters

* Benfica earn late victory in Europa League semi-final first leg

* Tevez on mark for Juve but Lima gives Portuguese side the edge

April 24 (Reuters) - A brilliantly-worked Lima goal gave last year's runners-up Benfica a late 2-1 win at home to Juventus in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday.

Central defender Ezequiel Garay headed Benfica in front after three minutes but the recently-crowned Portuguese champions failed to take advantage and Carlos Tevez levelled for Juventus on 73 minutes.

Benfica still needed a brilliant save by goalkeeper Artur from Claudio Marchisio to take a slender but valuable lead to Turin for next Thursday's second leg.

If Juventus can turn the tie around, they would then enjoy the advantage of playing their final in their own stadium against Sevilla or Valencia on May 14.

Benfica, who clinched the Portuguese league title on Sunday, went ahead when Garay met Miralem Sulejmani's corner with a powerful downward header which Gianluigi Buffon got a hand to but could not stop.

Missing key Argentine pair Eduardo Salvio and Nicolas Gaitan through injury, Benfica failed to build on that although they always looked dangerous on the break, particularly with Lazar Markovic down the right.

Juventus had more possession but did not really threaten until the 52nd minute when Paul Pogba's header was pushed around the post by Artur.

Maxi Pereira then rescued Benfica when he cleared a dangerous Stephan Lichtsteiner cross with Mirko Vucinic lurking at the far post.

Juventus finally levelled when Kwadwo Asamoah pulled the ball back to Tevez on the edge of the area. The Argentine left Luisao on the ground with a clever feint and slotted his shot past Artur.

Benfica looked down and out but their two substitutes created a winner out of nothing when Ivan Cavaleiro's dummy let in Lima and the Brazilian smashed his shot into the roof of the net with an emphatic first-time strike from just inside the area. (Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Justin Palmer)

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