Chelsea on course for Europa glory after late David Luiz strike
Blues in the driving seat after 2-1 away win over Basel in first leg of semi-final
Basel 1 Chelsea 2. An stoppage time strike from David Luiz gave Chelsea a crucial advantage in their Europa League semi-final against Basel, and the Blues host the Swiss side at Stamford Bridge next week in the return leg knowing that they are in the driving seat.
"We must concentrate and have no over-confidence for the next game," cautioned Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez, after seeing off the side that beat Tottenham in the previous round. "They can score goals at home and away [but] if we play well we can beat anyone so we have to do it."
Chelsea went one up on 12 minutes in bizarre circumstances, a corner from Frank Lampard sailed over Branislav Ivanovic and hit Victor Moses in the face before rebounding into the net. At that stage it seemed Chelsea were well on course to becoming the first team to win the Champions League and the Europa League in successive years, but the Swiss side came storming back.
Having beaten Manchester United in last season's Champions League, Basel had no reason to fear Chelsea and Petr Cech had to be on his toes to deny Fabian Schar and Mohamed Salah.
But three minutes from time Basel levelled after referee Pavel Kralovec deemed Cesar Azpilicueta to have fouled Valentin Stocker. Schar converted the penalty to the joy of the Basel faithful but in the fourth minute of injury time Luiz's free kick beat Yann Sommer in the Basel goal. "Everybody thought it was a fair result," said Benitez, who also expressed doubts about the validity of the Basel penalty.
"This was a very intense game played at a high tempo and we had to do our job, but we did very well. I hope this is a boost. We're working so hard, so if you can win this kind of games the mood is much better."
In the night's other semi-final, a second-half header from Egemen Korkmaz's ensured Fenerbahce will travel to Benfica next week with a precious lead. The Turkish side dominated their Portuguese visitors throughout with former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt hitting the post and Moussa Sow also coming close.