Champions League

Chelsea set up Barcelona semi

2012-04-04 22:49
Frank Lampard (AP)

London - Chelsea survived a nervous finale against 10-man Benfica to earn a 2-1 win in the Champions League quarter-final second leg and set up a last-four showdown with holders Barcelona.

Roberto Di Matteo's side were firm favourites to reach the semi-finals after a 1-0 first-leg win in Lisbon, but they were made to sweat before clinching a 3-1 aggregate success at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Frank Lampard's first half penalty and a red card for Benfica captain Maxi Pereira just before the break should have put Chelsea firmly in control.

But this was a far from convincing performance from the Blues and Javi Garcia's late header made for a few anxious moments before Raul Meireles sealed the victory in stoppage time.

Chelsea can now look further to another grudge match with old rivals Barca, who claimed a controversial victory over the Blues at the semi-final stage of Europe's elite club competition in 2009.

That was the most recent in a long line of explosive encounters between the two clubs and Chelsea's sixth semi-final appearance in the last nine years looks certain to reignite the feud.

However, Di Matteo's men will need to improve on some wasteful finishing and careless defending here if they are to stun Barca and book a place in the final in Munich.

Salomon Kalou's late winner last week had put Chelsea in charge and they received a further boost as injuries to Benfica's first-choice centre-halves Jardel and Luisao forced boss Jorge Jesus to deploy midfielder Garcia as a makeshift defender.

Yet Di Matteo had warned Chelsea to guard against complacency as the Portuguese team had scored in all of their European away matches this season.

And that looked sound advice as Benfica, showing more urgency than in the entire first-leg, poured forward in the opening minutes and forced blocks from Lampard and John Terry on the edge of the penalty area.

Chelsea had the ball in the net when Juan Mata fired low past Artur, but the Spaniard's strike was correctly ruled out for offside.

Benfica had been warned but their under-strength defence was creaking and Ashley Cole took full advantage in the 21st minute.

Cole made a perfectly timed run into the penalty area and, although his first touch was a little heavy, the left-back's surge panicked Garcia into a crude block that sent the Chelsea left-back crashing to the turf.

Referee Damir Skomina pointed to the spot and Lampard, making his 550th Chelsea appearance, stepped up to drill the penalty under Artur's dive.

Benfica went close to drawing level on the night when Terry scrambled Oscar Cardozo's goalbound shot off the line after a well-worked free-kick.

But Benfica's hopes of a miraculous comeback suffered a hammer blow when Pereira, already booked for dissent following the penalty, earned a second yellow card for a studs-up lunge on John Obi Mikel in the 40th minute.

Benfica needed an early goal in the second half to have any chance and they almost got it when Cardozo's curling effort brought a brilliant stop from Cech.

Di Matteo's team should have been further ahead when Ramires, producing an unwanted candidate for miss of the season, somehow failed to convert Kalou's cross-shot from barely two yards out.

Torres and Mata had chances to kill off Benfica but couldn't finish, yet there was a moment of concern for the hosts as skipper Terry was forced off.

Terry's departure unhinged Chelsea's defence and substitute Yannick Djalo twice went close with a shot and then a header.

When Kalou was denied by Artur it seemed of little consequence, but Garcia set up a tense finale when he rose unmarked to glance a close-range header past Cech from an 85th minute corner.

Chelsea's nerves were showing now, but substitute Meireles finally ended Benfica's spirited show when he broke away and lashed past Artur.

Read more on:    chelsea  |  benfica  |  barcelona  |  champions league  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.