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Portuguese trio progress to semis of Europa League
Braga capped a historic night for Portuguese teams in the Europa League as all three Primeira Liga representatives booked their places in the semi-finals of the competition.
Starting the night level after a 1-1 draw in Kiev last week, Braga shrugged off the 28th dismissal of Paulo Cesar to earn a goalless draw which saw them through on away goals.
They will meet Benfica in an all-Portuguese last four clash after Jorge Jesus' men rode an early storm in Holland before securing a 2-2 draw with PSV Eindhoven and a 6-3 aggregate win. FC Porto wrapped up an emphatic 10-3 aggregate win over Spartak Moscow by racing to a 5-2 victory on the night in the Russian capital.
Braga were up against it after Cesar's dismissal for a foul on Andriy Yarmolenko, but they had the best of the first-half chances with Rodrigo Lima going closest.
Lima also fired widem from a good position in the second half as Kiev's expected late assault never materialised. The visitors' hopes were further hit late on when Goran Popov was sent off for an unnecessary foul on Alan.
In Eindhoven, trailing 4-1 from the first leg, PSV stunned their visitors by clawing back to a single-goal deficit through Balazs Dzsudzsak in the 17th minute and a Jeremain Lens' strike eight minutes later.
But Benfica held their nerve and gave themselves breathing space when Luisao narrowed the gap on the night in first-half injury time. Oscar Cardozo's 63rd-minute penalty ended PSV's slim hopes.
Spartak hopes were extinguished by FC Porto forward Hulk's 28th-minute opener and Cristian Rodriguez added a second before half-time. Fredy Guarin, Falcao and Ruben added further goals with Artem Dzyuba and Ari replying for the home side.
Villarreal also sealed their semi-final place as they came from behind to claim a 3-1 win against FC Twente in Holland which was enough to send them through 8-2 on aggregate.
Emir Bajrami put the home side ahead at the break but when Dwight Tiendalli was sent off on the hour and Giuseppe Rossi scored the resulting penalty, it was all over. Marco Ruben, with another penalty, and Cani completed an easy win.
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