Thursday, April 25, 2013 7:35 pm
Chelsea beats Basel 2-1 in 1st leg of Europa semis
By GRAHAM DUNBARAP Sports Writer
Victor Moses put Chelsea in front with a header in the 12th minute, and Fabian Schaer tied the score with an 87th-minute penalty kick after Cesar Azpilicueta was called for a foul by Czech referee Pavel Kralovec on a challenge to clear a cross at the back post.
Chelsea is trying for consecutive European titles after winning the more prestigious Champions League last year.
"It was a very strange decision," Blues manager Rafa Benitez said. "To score an away goal is really important but to score two and win is even better."
Basel's most famous fan, tennis star Roger Federer, watched from the stands.
In the other match, Fenerbahce beat visiting Benfica 1-0 on defender Egemen Korkmaz's 72nd-minute header. Fenerbahce hit goal frame three times, including a penalty kick by midfielder Cristian in first-half stoppage time.
"It was a great night for Turkish football," Fenerbahce forward Dirk Kuyt said. "We may not have their quality, but we have just as much fighting spirit as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund."
The second legs of the total-goals series are May 2, and the winners meet in the final at Amsterdam on May 15.