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U.S. striker Johannsson to face Benfica in Europa League quarters


The Europa League quarterfinal draw was made on Friday, and fans of the U.S. national team will have one eye on promising striker Aron Johannsson.

The Icelandic-American forward has been handed a glitzy tie against Portuguese giants Benfica, as his AZ Alkmaar side have performed incredibly well to reach the last eight of Europe’s second-tier club competition.

Alkmaar host Benfica first on April 3, then travel to Lisbon to play in the Estadio da Luz against the two-time European champions on April 10. Benfica have now reached the quarterfinals of the Europa League in four of the last five seasons after beating Tottenham Hotspur in the last round.

Johannsson has had a stunning season for AZ, scoring 17 goals, and with the chance to test himself against one of the best teams left in the competition, the 23-year-old is set to have a large contingent of USMNT fans watching his every move next month.

Elsewhere favorites Juventus face French giants Lyon, and an extra incentive for the Turin based club is that the final is being played at Juve’s home stadium on May 14. FC Basel play Valencia, with both teams featuring prominently in the UEFA Champions League in recent season, while there’s also an Iberian battle between FC Porto and Sevilla which is sure to be a fiery encounter.

The first legs will be played on April 3, with the second legs on April 10. The teams listed first below will host the first legs.

Europa League quarterfinal draw

AZ Alkmaar vs. Benfica
Lyon vs. Juventus
FC Basel vs. Valencia
FC Porto vs. Sevilla

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