Wednesday 04 April 2012
Chelsea set up a UEFA Champions League semi-final against Spanish giants Barcelona after overcoming Benfica on a nervous night at Stamford Bridge.
Roberto di Matteo's men, leading 1-0 from the first leg, subdued their lively opponents when Frank Lampard converted a penalty on 21 minutes following a foul on Ashley Cole.
The Portuguese visitors' task got harder when Maxi Pereira was sent off for picking up a second booking shortly before half time.
Ramires was guilty of a glaring miss after the break, and Fernando Torres also came close - and the Blues' regretted the missed chances as Javi Garcia headed to level on the night with five minutes remaining.
But with Benfica pushing forward for another - which would have seen them win on away goals - substitute Raul Meireles produced an emphatic finish after a breakaway to secure Chelsea's progress.
The Blues will be at home for the first leg of the semi-final against Barcelona - who beat AC Milan in their quarter-final - on April 17th or 18th, with the return leg the following week.