/ Soccer

Chelsea bring slender lead back to Stamford Bridge

Updated: Friday, 26 Apr 2013 10:05 | Comments

Victor Moses (L) and Cesar (R) congratulate scorer David Luiz
Victor Moses (L) and Cesar (R) congratulate scorer David Luiz

Rafael Benitez will not allow his Chelsea side to get complacent about making the Europa League final after seeing Tottenham come a cropper against Basle earlier in the month.

The Swiss champions overcame Spurs on penalties in the quarter-finals, having held the Barclays Premier League side to 2-2 draws in both legs of their tie.

Chelsea put in a far better performance than their London rivals at St Jakob-Park last night, although it took a stoppage-time David Luiz free-kick to earn a 2-1 win.

The late strike puts the Blues in the driving seat heading into next week's second leg at Stamford Bridge, but interim manager Benitez remains wary of the threat Basle pose.

"We have the experience from Tottenham so we know this team is a very good team, who can score goals home and away, so we have to be sure to concentrate," the Spaniard said.

"We can't be overconfident in the next game and do our job. We know that, if we play well, we can beat anyone so we can do it.

"It was a very intense game with a high tempo, and we know that we were playing against a side who haven't lost at home.

"They have beaten a lot of teams and played with an intensity that is great for the fans. We knew we had to do our job and I think we did it very well.

"We had chances on the counter-attack and might have scored more goals, but we've beaten a good team."

"For us, it wasn't [a penalty]. To give a penalty, it has to be very, very clear" - Rafa Benitez

After a bright start in which Victor Moses opened the scoring, it had looked like Chelsea would pay for their profligacy when referee Pavel Kralovec awarded a soft penalty against Cesar Azpilicueta three minutes from time.

Fabian Schar slotted home the resulting spot-kick, only for Luiz to break Basle hearts with the last kick of the game.

Asked if the 2-1 win was deserved, Benitez said: "Yes, I think we had to work hard until the end.

"I think we had chances on the counter-attack and we couldn't score a second goal.

"After the penalty, which was a surprise for everyone, I think in the end the second goal from David Luiz was good enough for us. But I was a little bit worried about this penalty.

"For us, it wasn't [a penalty]. To give a penalty, it has to be very, very clear."

Counterpart Murat Yakin insisted Basle can still progress to the Amsterdam finale but cut a frustrated figure in the post-match press conference.

"Both sides created a lot of chances and the fans must have loved the game," the former Switzerland international said.

"We managed to equalise close to the end and the team reacted very well and were even looking for a winner.

"But, in the end, we were the unlucky team. Overall, we showed passion and a very good performance."

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