Benfica book place in final against Chelsea

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Benfica's team celebrates their victory over Fenerbahce at the end of their UEFA Europa League semifinal second leg clash at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on May 2, 2013. Picture: AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONG

Lisbon – Benfica join Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League final, after beating Fenerbahce 3-1 on Thursday.

Having lost the first leg 1-0 in Turkey, and unable to walk away with a vital away goal, Benfica would have needed to take away Fenerbahce’s slight advantage going into Thursday night.

And right off the bat they did, opening the scoring within ten minutes of the whistle. Osvaldo Gaitan latched onto a Rodrigo Lima pass and fired the ball in off the post to level matters on aggregate.

But in the 23rd minute, a controversial call by the referee gave the visitors a crucial away goal. Ezequiel Garay was deemed to have handled the ball in the area, and a penalty was awarded; Dirk Kuyt stepped up and converted to take Fenerbahce into the lead.

But determined to reach the final, the Portuguese giants pressed forward, and were rewarded just over ten minutes later. Oscar Cardozo snatched up a loose ball from a set piece and fired it home.

Even though the home side were in the lead, they were level on aggregate and Fenerbahce had an away goal, which meant the Turkish side would progress if things stayed as they were.

But, minutes after the hour mark, Cardozo once again snapped up a poorly deflected corner and slotted the ball into the net.

-eNCA

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