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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER FINAL 2nd LEG: Chelsea overcome ten-men Benfica for last four berth

Chelsea are through to a semi-final meeting with Barcelona after holding off a spirited fightback by ten-men Benfica for 2-1 home win and a 3-1 aggregate success. Benfica started and ended brightly but the first half sending off of Maxi Pereira gave them an uphill battle and despite levelling with five minutes remaining, in chasing a winner which would have sent them through on away goals they left themselves open to a Chelsea counter attack.

The Blues were sent on their way to a fifth consecutive home win in this season's Champions League when Ashley Cole was brought down by Javi Garcia and Frank Lampard squeezed home the resulting penalty.

Maxi Pereira was sent off for the visitors before the break for a second yellow card on a night when six other players went into the referee's notebook.

The Portuguese side tried to take the game to the Chelsea and John Terry cleared off the line, but just as it seemed the home side were cruising into the semi's Benfica scored with five minutes remaining.

Garcia was left totally unmarked from a corner to power home a header and ensure a few nervy moments for the host's until a quick break in the final minute saw Raul Meireles eased the tension at Stamford Bridge with a fierce finish.

However, Chelsea made hard work of this victory and will need to improve against Barcelona if they have any chance of progression to the final.

Referee: Damir Skomina (SVN)

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Attendance: 37,264

Chelsea scorers: Lampard pen 21, Meireles 90 Benfica scorers: Garcia 85

Yellow cards: Bruno Cesar (BEN), Aimar (BEN), Cardozo (BEN), Ivanovic (CHE), Ramires (CHE), Mikel (CHE) Red card: Pereira (Ben)

TRIBAL ASKS: On this performance have Chelsea reached the end of the road in the Champions League?

 Click here to reach the No1 destination for hard news and exciting gossip on Chelsea

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Dave Williams

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