Chelsea produced the archetypical European performance to put one foot in the Champions League last four after Salomon Kalou’s goal downed Benfica at Estadio da Luz.
After keeping their Portugese opponents at arms length for most of the evening, Kalou touched home after Fernando Torres dinked cross.
It was the least the visitors deserved, with Jardel’s back post header the closest Benfica came during a frustrating 90 minutes as they failed to score for the first time at home in two years.
Starting without experienced trio Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien, Chelsea quickly settled, looking for their first away Champions League win of the season.
Not until the second half did the game begin to open up, with Jardel producing an excellent save out of Petr Cech.
The opportunity sparked Chelsea into action, and when Ramies put Torres in the clear, he kept his cool to find Kalou who netted his fifth club goal of the season.
Roberto Di Matteo’s side survived Benfica’s physical approach in the closing stages, Ashley Cole making a decisive header at the end to hand The Blues a crucial first-leg advantage.
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