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EUROPA LEAGUE SEMI-FINAL 2nd LEG: Benfica progress after fightback against Fenerbahce

Benfica will meet Chelsea in the Europa League final after defeating Fenerbahce 3-1 in the semi-final second leg on Thursday night for a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

The Portuguese club were beaten 1-0 in Istanbul last week but fought back to book their spot in the May 15 decider in Amsterdam against the current Champions League holders.

Nicolas Gaitan levelled the tie inside ten minutes when he produced a brilliant finish on the outside of his left foot from the right side of the area after being teed up by Rodrigo Lima.

Against the run of play, Fener hit back in the 23rd minute when Dirk Kuyt fired home from the penalty spot after Ezequiel Garay had been penalised for a questionable handball.

With the tie in the balance, Oscar Cardozo took things into his own hands by edging Benfica ahead 2-1 on the night and levelling the tie at 2-2 in the 35th minute with a low left-footed finish after a free-kick found him on the edge of the area.

The Paraguayan then gave Benfica an overall lead just after the hour-mark when he was on hand to control beautifully and then rifle home much to the delight of the Estadio da Luz faithful.

It was a tense finish for Benfica as Fener required a second goal on the night to progress on away goals but they were unable to do so with Jorge Jesus' Eagles doing enough to book a date with Chelsea in a few weeks' time.

2012/13 UEFA Europa League semi-final - second leg

Benfica (POR): (Nicolas Gaitan 9', Oscar Cardozo 35'/66') Fenerbahce (TUR): 1 (Dirk Kuyt (p) 23') *Benfica wins 3-2 on aggregate

Estadio da Luz, Lisbon - 55,402

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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