The final whistle has just gone in London, and as expected, Chelsea have booked their place in the semi-finals win a 3-1 aggregate win over Portuguese giants Benfica. After winning 1-0 away from home at the Estadio da Luz, the onus was on Robert Di Matteo’s side to seal the deal back at Stamford Bridge, and a penalty from Frank Lampard seemed to hint that there was no way back for Jorge Jesus and his side. Javi Garcia did score a late consolation with a header to set up a nervy ending, but Raul Meireles put the tie beyond reasonable doubt with a stunning strike in added-on time to ensure the Blues progressed.
Chelsea’s progression sets up a mouth-watering clash with our beloved FC Barcelona, in what will be a rematch of the infamous 2009 semi-final, where Andres Iniesta’s glorious last-minute goal was overshadowed by the actions of referee Tom Henning Ovrebo. However, this time round the first leg will be at the Bridge, with the second taking place at the Camp Nou, so even before a ball is kicked, the advantage is with Barcelona. With both sides facing difficult matches in between each leg (Barca face Real Madrid in El Clasico, while Chelsea square off with Arsenal in a London derby), this tie could truly go either way.
As for the other match taking place tonight, Real Madrid booked their place in the semi-finals with an 8-2 aggregate win over APOEL Nicosia (it finished 5-2 at the Bernabeu). That sets up a clash with Bayern Munich which is arguably the pick of the two ties. With many predicting a Clasico encounter at the Allianz Arena, expectations will be high, but there is a long way to go before either side books their place in the showpiece final. All I know is that it should be entertaining finding out.
For more coverage on Chelsea, and indeed their match with Benfica, check out SB Nation's Chelsea blog, We Ain't Got No History.