sport

Benfica v Juventus preview

Carlos Tevez is set to return to Juventus' starting line-up for Thursday's Europa League semi-final first leg at Benfica.

The Argentinian striker has shaken off a muscular injury that saw him miss Juve's last two Serie A games.

Tevez, who is looking to score his first European goal since April 2009, will lead Juve's attack at the Estadio da Luz.

Tevez's presence is a boost for Juve coach Antonio Conte, who must do without pivotal midfielder Arturo Vidal, who is ruled out of the encounter in Lisbon with a knee injury.

Juve travel to Portugal on the back of Saturday's 1-0 triumph over Bologna that saw them take one step closer to their third straight Italian title.

The Turin giants lead the Serie A standings with an eight-point advantage over Roma with four games remaining.

However, Conte has warned his players to expect a stern test come Thursday.

"Benfica are very strong team that is winning in Portugal," Conte said. "They have won the league, the Portuguese Cup and they are in the semi-finals of the Europa League.

"They are having an extraordinary campaign and this just proves the strength of this side.

"They have great individual players like Rodrigo and Gaitan and we will have to put in a great performance.

"I hope we can have the best Juve because we are facing a truly strong team that has bounced back from last season's disappointment of losing the league, the Copa and the Europa League in one week."

Benfica, last season's runners-up in the competition, head into the contest in seventh heaven after Sunday's 2-0 triumph over Olhanense that handed them their 33rd league title.

"Having lost three finals last season, we knew that we had to repeat the good things we had done but write a different endings to the finals," Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira said. "I knew that the future would eventually compensate us for what happened last year.

"Last Sunday we started to re-write our history and we hope on Thursday we can continue to do so."

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus will be without Eduardo Salvio for the encounter, with the Argentinian attacking midfielder having fractured a bone in his arm at the weekend.

Serbian defensive midfielder Ljubomir Fejsa is also out with a tendon injury.

Benfica are unbeaten at home this season in all competitions and travel to the Turin stadium, the venue for this year's final, next week for the return leg.