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Chelsea look to succeed where Spurs failed

Chelsea look to succeed where Spurs failed
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If Chelsea are to salvage a trophy from their difficult campaign, they will have to succeed where their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur have already failed and beat Switzerland’s FC Basel in their Europa League semifinal tie.

The two sides meet at the St. Jakob-Park in Thursday’s first leg, with Chelsea wary of the threat posed by a side that eliminated Spurs on penalties in the quarterfinals.

After starting the season as European champions, Chelsea never even wanted to be in this competition, but now the focus is on going all the way and lifting a trophy they have never won before.

The desire to do so is made even more acute by their recent FA Cup semifinal loss to Manchester City. “The competition is helping the team a lot, because it is giving us a lot of satisfaction - not like in the Premier League this season, and we lost the semifinal of the FA Cup, so we were also close,” Fernando Torres, who could start the game on the bench if interim manager Rafael Benitez again chooses to rotate his squad, told UEFA.com. “But the Europa League is keeping us in a good mood and thinking it could be a good season.”

English club has won this competition - which was re-branded from its traditional title of the UEFA Cup in 2009 - since Liverpool in 2001, although Middlesbrough and Fulham have both been runners-up since.

But if Chelsea are to make it to the final in Amsterdam on May 15, they must get the better of opponents who, as well as sending Zenit St Petersburg and Tottenham packing from Europe this season, also won at home to Manchester United and Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League.

Like Basel, the Istanbul club are appearing in their first European semifinal, and will need to make the most of their home advantage in the first leg against Benfica, who are unbeaten in their domestic league all season and beat Newcastle United in the last eight. The tie promises a plenty.
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