Chelsea take big step towards Champions League semi-finals

Chelsea took one giant, Peter Crouch style, step towards the Champions League semi-finals with an impressive first leg victory at Benfica on Tuesday night.

Saloman Kalou’s late effort was enough to secure a slender 1-0 win in Portugal, made all the more impressive after interim coach Roberto Di Matteo had left stars like Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien on the bench.

It means the Blues are now 9.00 to win the competition, something which had seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago, having just booted out Andre Villas-Boas and with a 3-1 deficit to turn around against Napoli. But turnaround they did and now look a good bet to reach the last four. It wasn’t all plain sailing though as the home side had 25 shots on goal, eight on target, with Petr Cech pulling off seven saves, David Luiz also clearing one off the line.

But don’t get carried away just yet Chelsea fans, if Di Matteo’s charges do make it through those pesky boys from Barcelona will await. Assuming they can beat AC Milan.

In the other quarter-final played on Tuesday night Real Madrid made light work of Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia, winning 3-0 away from home and all but booking their place in the last four. They are now second favourites to win the Champions League, backed at 3.00