Portugese trio reach Europa semi-finals

Updated: Apr 15, 2011, 09:30 AM IST

Berne: Portuguese trio Porto, Benfica and Braga reached the Europa League semi-finals in contrasting styles as Europe`s second-string club competition produced another goal feast on Thursday.

Porto completed their demolition of Spartak Moscow by following up last week`s 5-1 in Lisbon with a 5-2 victory in Moscow in their quarter-final second leg to complete a 10-3 aggregate win.

Benfica went through with an impressive fightback at PSV Eindhoven where they went 2-0 down in 25 minutes but hit back to draw 2-2 and reach their first European semi-final for 17 years 6-3 on aggregate.

In complete contrast, Braga, Liverpool`s conquerers in the last 16, went through with a goalless draw at home to Dynamo Kiev, qualifying on away goals after their 1-1 draw in Ukraine.

Braga held on despite having Paulo Cesar sent off before the half hour.

Spain`s Villarreal will be the odd ones out after coming from behind to win 3-1 away to Twente Enschede for an emphatic 8-2 aggregate win.

A final between former European champions Porto and Benfica is on the cards with Porto facing Villarreal in their semi-final and Benfica meeting Braga.

Striker Radamel Falcao took his Europa League tally to 11 goals this season as he was among the scorers on a chilly Moscow evening for the recently-crowned Portuguese champions.

Bureau Report