The Europa League reaches its penultimate stage this week, as Benfica take on Fenerbahce and Chelsea play Basel in their semi final second legs. Fenerbahce and Chelsea both hold advantages, but there’s still everything to play for. Read on for our preview of this week’s Europa League matches.
Benfica (0) – (1) Fenerbahce
Fenerbahce dominated Benfica last week and will probably feel somewhat aggrieved that they weren’t able to take more than a one-goal lead with them to Portugal. The Turkish giants hit the woodwork 3 times, but only managed to register one goal through Egemen in the 73rd minute.
Benfica are an impressive side – no European side gets to the latter stages of such an intricate tournament without being a good side – and so this match promises to be a mouthwatering showdown between these two sides at the Estádio da Luz. One goal from Benfica and it’s all still to play for, but they will have to be careful about bombing forward as 1 goal for Fenerbahce will see the Portugese having to score 3 to progress to the final.
Both sides possess some high quality players and this one promises to be one of those great European nights between two great sides. A brave man would put money on this, as it’s going to be pretty tough to call.
Chelsea (2) – (1) FC Basel
The West-Londoners appear to be in a pretty prominent position after returning from Switzerland with 2 away goals. David Luiz struck deep in injury time to hand the Blues the advantage and Chelsea now host Basel at Stamford Bridge knowing that they can just sit back and let the Swiss side attack.
Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea certainly seem to have undergone something of a resurgence in recent weeks and they look certain to qualify for the Champions League next season. It would certainly delight the Chelsea faithful if they were able to pick up a trophy after a season that started in a less than stellar fashion. In order to reach that final though, Chelsea will have to put in another professional performance against a Basel side who are certain not to roll over. Basel did for Tottenham in the previous round, so should be taken seriously; but you would nevertheless expect the London boys to emerge victorious from this one.