UEFA Champions League: Wednesday, 04th April 2012 19:45
Author: Thomas Rooney 03/04/2012
Chelsea will hope to book their place in the Champions League semi-finals tomorrow evening when they host Benfica at Stamford Bridge.
Roberto Di Matteo’s men were victorious in the first-leg last week, securing a valuable 1-0 victory in Lisbon and this has made them favourites to progress. It doesn’t mean the work is done though – far from it.
In fact, the Blues will have to take a very different approach to this second-leg tie than they did to in the last round. Going into the second game against Napoli, it was backs against the walls time for Chelsea.
The need to come out fighting that saw them produce their best performance of the season. The likes of John Terry, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard were at their best as Chelsea turned round a 3-1 deficit to progress.
It is all very different against Benfica though. This time, Chelsea are expected to get the job done and it would be a shock if they didn’t. They must guard against complacency and focus on winning on the night.
They do appear to be in some decent form though, so they can be confident in this regard. They can afford to have plenty of self-belief after all, just as long as it doesn’t mean they are underestimating Benfica.
As for the Portuguese side, there is no doubt that last week’s defeat on home soil hurt. They have a proud European record in front of their home fans and they will be determined to ensure that his tie isn’t over just yet.
After all, with a Champions League semi-final place at stake, this is as big as it gets for Benfica at the moment. Not many would have predicted that they would make it this far, but this doesn’t mean they are prepared to settle for what they have got.
The key to this game could be the first goal, especially if Benfica manage to get it. This would throw the tie wide open and perhaps get Chelsea a bit nervous. In fact, if the away side score at all, it really does even things up.
Chelsea just need to focus on winning the game, nothing else. It might even be wise to forget about the first-leg. They need to win this game to progress to the final four of the Champions League. That is the attitude to adopt.
They will do just that too, although it will nerve racking at times. It appears to be a pattern for this current Chelsea team that they don’t do things the easy way.
However, with their big name players likely to step up again and Fernando Torres in some good form, it is the Premier League side that will progress with a 2-1 win on the night.