Fenerbahçe to meet Benfica in Europa League semifinals

Fenerbahçe to meet Benfica in Europa League semifinals

Fenerbahçe to meet Benfica in Europa League semifinals

Fenerbahçe made history April 11, qualifying for the first time in the Europa League semifinals, after a 1-1 draw against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. AA Photo

Fenerbahçe will meet Benfica in the Europa League semifinals in its bid for a maiden continental trophy after being paired with the Portuguese giants in a draw on April 12.

The Yellow Canaries will host the Lisbon heavyweights on April 25 at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium and visit Dragao Stadium on May 3.

Competition favorite and reigning European champions Chelsea will meet Basel in the other semifinal.
Elsewhere, in the Champions League, the top-level European competition, Spanish teams and Germans were kept apart in the semifinals.

Barcelona will meet last year’s runner-up, Bayern Munich, while Real Madrid will take on Dortmund in the semifinals.

In the Europa League, Fenerbahçe is bidding for its first-ever European trophy, and it has already posted its most-successful European run in its history by making it to the Europa League semifinals.

On April 11, Fenerbahçe held Lazio to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico, a week after beating the Italians in Istanbul to book its place in the last four.

Benfica is bidding for its first European trophy since its glory years of the 1960s.

Chelsea is bidding to become only the fourth team in history to win all three of European football’s club competitions.

Having already won the Champions League last year and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971 and 1998, the Blues now hope to add the Europa League to join the likes of Juventus, Ajax and Bayern Munich in doing the European treble.

The Blues reached the final of the old UEFA Cup in 1983 but were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Belgian side Anderlecht.

Basel, like Fenerbahçe, is seeking its first European triumph.

Fenerbahçe’s semifinal success marked only the fourth time that a Turkish team has advanced to the semifinals of a European competition.

Galatasaray advanced to the European Cup semifinals in the 1988-1989 before becoming the first Turkish team to win a European trophy with its UEFA Cup success in 2000.

Göztepe also advanced to the semifinals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the former version of Europa League, in the 1968-69 campaign.