Italy stalwart Andrea Pirlo came through with a fierce free kick to put Juventus in the Europa League quarterfinals. (Daniele Badolato/LaPresse/AP)
Juventus is running away from Fiorentina in Serie A, and, thanks to Andrea Pirlo, it managed to do so in the Europa League as well.
Pirlo's powerful, 20-yard free kick in the 71st minute of their round of 16 second-leg matchup found the upper right-hand corner of the net and put Serie A-leading Juventus in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa League, with the Old Lady fending off La Viola 2-1 on aggregate.
Juventus, 27 points clear of fourth-place Fiorentina and closing in on a third straight Scudetto in Italian league play, is joined in the quarterfinals by U.S. national team forward Aron Johannsson's AZ Alkmaar, which persevered by Anzhi 1-0 on the strength of Johannsson's first-leg penalty kick. Benfica, Porto, Valencia, Sevilla, Lyon and Basel have also reached the final eight of Europe's second-tier continental competition.
The draw for the Champions League and Europa League quarterfinals will be conducted on Friday, with the first legs of all of those series being played during the first week of April.
Video of Pirlo's series-clinching free kick Thursday is below:
(Via Fox Soccer