Chelsea-Basel, Fenerbahce-Benfica in Europa League semis
Posted on: 04:07 PM IST Apr 12, 2013
Nyon: European champions Chelsea will play Basel in the Europa League semifinals, with the first-leg match in Switzerland. Fenerbahce will face Benfica, with the opening leg played in Turkey, after UEFA made the pairings on Friday.
Chelsea aim to complete an unlikely double by lifting the second-tier trophy as the reigning Champions League winners. All four semifinalists began the season in the Champions League before being eliminated and dropping into the second-tier competition.
First-leg matches are on April 25, and return games are on May 2. The final is on May 15 at Amsterdam Arena. Basel, like Fenerbahce, have reached their first semifinal in any European club competition.
Though Basel have never won a UEFA match in England, they eliminated Tottenham in the quarterfinals on Thursday on a penalty shootout after two 2-2 draws. Last season, Basel beat Manchester United in the Champions League group stage to advance ahead of the English champion.
None of the semifinalists has won the Europa League, or its predecessor the UEFA Cup. Benfica was beaten finalist in 1983, against Anderlecht.
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