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
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Liverpool, Arsenal draw 2-2

2014-12-21 20:28

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
Fixtures
17 February 2015
Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Bayern München, Donbass Arena 21:45
Paris Saint Germain v Chelsea, Parc des Princes 21:45
18 February 2015
FC Basel v FC Porto, St Jakob-Park 21:45
FC Schalke 04 v Real Madrid, VELTINS-Arena 21:45
24 February 2015
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Juventus v Borussia Dortmund, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Logs
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
Vote

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

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