Millennium Post

Chelsea, Benfica target place in final

Chelsea’s relentless march towards either more European glory or a heroic, battle-weary failure, continues on Thursday when they face FC Basel with the final of the Europa League beckoning.

The Londoners, like Benfica who face Fenerbahce in the other semifinal, were eliminated from the Champions League after the group stage, but both dropouts could yet meet in the final at the Amsterdam Arena on May 15.

Chelsea are well-placed after a 2-1 victory in Switzerland but Benfica trail their Turkish opponents 1-0.  Victory in the Europa League would not have been either club’s target at the start of the season but it now offers redemption at the end of long and punishing road.  Chelsea, the outgoing European Champions, will be playing their 11th match in 33 days against the Swiss champions at Stamford Bridge. Interim manager Rafa Benitez will want to take an exit with his head held high and Europa league win serves the perfect foil for him.  
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