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Played
April 5, 2012 12:15 AM IST
Stamford Bridge — London
Referee:‬ D. Skomina‎
Attendance:‬ 37264‎
 
21′ (PG) Frank Lampard
Javi García 85′
90+2′ Raúl Meireles
 
Top of the Match
John Terry
John Terry
Chelsea FC
Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres
Chelsea FC
Flop of the Match
Maxi Pereira
Maxi Pereira
Benfica
Maxi Pereira
Maxi Pereira
Benfica

Chelsea 2-1 Benfica (Agg 3-1): Lampard & Meireles on target as Blues set up Champions League semi-final date with Barcelona

Chelsea managed to qualify for the last four of the Champions League, but there were a few scary moments for the Stamford Bridge faithful as Javi Garcia scored late on

By Matthew Harold

UEFA Champions League, Frank Lampard, Chelsea FC v SL Benfica
Getty Images
A penalty by Frank Lampard and a strike by Raul Meireles deep into injury-time helped Chelsea secure a Champions League semi-final place. But their evening was not without a scare after Javi Garcia’s late goal nearly cost the English side against Benfica.

The victory over the Portuguese outfit sees Chelsea continue on the path towards the final in Munich, but they must first overcome the large roadblock of defending champions Barcelona.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

JOHN TERRY | PLAYER RATING

7

Cleared off the line from Cardozo in the 29th minute and led the defence with complete certainty before being withdrawn shortly before the hour mark.

Roberto Di Matteo opted to make two changes from the first leg triumph in Lisbon, bringing back Branislav Ivanovic and Lampard in place of Paulo Ferreira and Raul Meireles, while Michael Essien and Didier Drogba were left on the bench.

His opposite number Jorge Jesus decided to give starts to former Stamford Bridge fringe-player Nemanja Matic and former Spanish international full back Joan Capdevila, who replaced injured duo Luisao and Jardel.

Chelsea found themselves on the back foot early on in the game as Benfica looked to level the tie early on, with Nicolas Gaitan posing the threat down the left wing, but the Blues defence stood firm to protect both Petr Cech and their first leg lead.

The home side were given a golden opportunity to take the lead as Ashley Cole broke into the box and was cruelly barged down by Javi Garcia, leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. Damir Skomina showed a yellow card to Benfica skipper Maxi Pereira, which would cost the full back later on.

That allowed Lampard to drive the ball under the outstretched arms of Artur and into the back of the net to give Di Matteo’s side a comfortable two-goal lead on aggregate.

Midway through the first half, David Luiz attempted one trick too many and allowed Gaitan to race forward, but the Argentinian midfielder’s cross was blocked by John Terry.

The Chelsea skipper came to the rescue again a minute later after a good move from a free kick found Axel Witsel at the back post and he knocked it down for Oscar Cardozo, who was free on the penalty spot, but his drive towards goal was cleared by Terry on the line.

CHAMPIONS CHELSEA?
8/1
Chelsea are now 8/1 with William Hill to win the Champions League this season.
Five minutes before the break, things went from bad to worse for the Portuguese outfit as Pereira was shown his second yellow card of the evening for a lunge on John Obi Mikel, leaving his side left to play out the rest of the match with 10 men.  

The visitors came out with a purpose for the second half and were nearly rewarded straight away as a slick passing move saw the ball arrive at the feet of Cardozo, but his strike was superbly tipped round the post by Chelsea stopper Cech.

Di Matteo’s side should have wrapped up the game as they broke down the left-hand side of the penalty area, with Salomon Kalou leaving Ramires with a mere tap-in from a yard out but the Brazilian midfielder somehow failed to convert.

The English side continued to search out the goal that would ultimately kill the game off as a contest, with both Juan Mata and Torres having strikes on goal within seconds of each other, but neither could find a way past Artur.

Benfica nearly claimed a goal back as the Chelsea defence seemed to fall asleep, allowing the ball to eventually find substitute Yannick Djalo, but his striker from just inside the area was blocked by the home defence and went out for a corner.

Mata could have finished off the game Kalou picked out his bursting run into the box, but the Spanish midfielder’s strike could only go across the face of Artur’s goal and out for a goal kick.

After so many missed chances, the Stamford Bridge faithful must have feared the worst when a corner from the left wing in the 85th minute found Javi Garcia free in front of goal and he headed the ball into the back of the net to give Benfica a glimmer of hope.

But with Benfica moving everyone forward, the Blues broke and substitute Raul Meireles unleashed an unstoppable strike to send Chelsea into the semi-final stage of the Champions League.


Chelsea FC

1
Petr Cech
Goalkeeper
2.50
2
3.00
3
Ashley Cole
Defender
21′
3.00
4
David Luiz
Defender
3.00
26
John Terry
Defender
60′
3.50
7
Ramires
Midfielder
44′
3.00
8
Frank Lampard
Midfielder
21′
3.00
12
John Obi Mikel
Midfielder
79′ 92′
3.00
9
3.00
8
Juan Mata
Striker
79′
3.50
8
Salomon Kalou
Striker
3.00

Benfica

3.00
1
Artur
Goalkeeper
2.50
-
Emerson
Defender
2.50
14
Maxi Pereira
Midfielder
20′ 40′
3.50
11
3.00
14
Javi García
Midfielder
85′
2.50
30
Bruno César
Midfielder
20′ 72′
3.00
10
Pablo Aimar
Midfielder
27′ 85′
3.00
21
Nemanja Matić
Midfielder
3.50
28
Axel Witsel
Midfielder
2.50
7

Substitutes

21
Ross Turnbull
Goalkeeper
0.00
20
0.00
24
Gary Cahill
Defender
60′
2.50
-
Michael Essien
Midfielder
0.00
14
Raúl Meireles
Midfielder
79′ 92′
3.00
11
0.00
15
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
-
Eduardo
Goalkeeper
0.00
30
0.00
10
Nolito
Midfielder
3.00
25
0.00
30
3.00
10

Coach/Manager

-
0.00

Coach/Manager

0.00
-
 
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Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
14 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
10 1
Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
Striker
Barcelona
8 2
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atlético de Madrid
7 0
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
6 2