LISBON, PORTUGAL - MARCH 27: Salomon Kalou of Chelsea is closed down by Bruno Cesar of Benfica during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Benfica and Chelsea at Estadio da Luz on March 27, 2012 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

UEFA Champions League: Chelsea, Madrid Both Win Away

Chelsea and Real Madrid look like near locks to go through. Madrid won 3-0 in Nicosia, while Chelsea won 1-0 in Lisbon.

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APOEL Nicosia Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Real Leave Things Late, But Win Big Anyway

Nobody really expected APOEL Nicosia to get anything off Real Madrid, did they?

The Cypriot fairy tale came to a screeching halt in the second half of their first-ever UEFA Champions League quarterfinal as the favourites snuck three goals past Dionisis Chiotis in final 20 minutes of the game, giving Madrid an almost insurmountable 3-0 lead.

The tie is over. APOEL had 23 percent of the possession and zero shots in a home game, and now they have to score three at the Santiago Bernabéu in order to just take this to extra time? That's simply not happening. Their plan was to frustrate Madrid and end the first leg scoreless, and at first that seemed to be going pretty well. The visitors were obviously the better side, but the defence (aided by an amusing Karim Benzema miss) held firm and kept their expensively assembled opponents off the board. However, APOEL never looked much like threatening Iker Casillas' goal and it was only ever going to be a matter of time before Madrid found a way through.

It was Benzema who scored first, making up for his earlier miss by glancing home a delightful cross from Kaká in the 74th minute, and after that the floodgates were open. Kaká made it two after excellent work by Marcelo as Real piled on the pressure, and Benzema capped off the night with a last-minute goal to make it 3-0. Madrid, barring a miracle of ridiculous proportions, are in the semifinals.

For more on Los BLancos, check out SB Nation's Real Madrid blog, Managing Madrid.


Benfica Vs. Chelsea, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Final Score, Blues Win 1-0 In Lisbon

Benfica are going to need a miracle in the second leg to progress to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League after Chelsea pulled off a 1-0 win at Estádio da Luz on Tuesday. Benfica created plenty of chances, but their finishing was poor and they failed to hit the back of the net. Chelsea only managed three shots on target, but the one that went in the goal came at the end of a terrific team move.

The first half was relatively dull, with both teams struggling to find any quality with their final ball. This was due in part to the excellent defensive positioning of both teams, but also in part to the fact that neither team looked like they were in much of a rhythm. Óscar Cardozo missed one golden opportunity for Benfica in the 19th minute, and Raul Meireles had a shot saved by Artur in the 40th.

Benfica started quickly in the second half and assaulted the Chelsea goal, but failed to truly challenge Petr Cech. They screamed and hollered for a handball on a block by David Luiz in the 47th minute, but the Chelsea defender had his arms by his sides.


The referee got the decision right in that instance, but he would miss a later handball in the box by Chelsea. In the 60th minute, John Terry blocked a shot by Maxi Pereira with his arm, and the Blues were lucky that they didn't have a penalty given against them.


Just seconds later, Chelsea got out on the break and created a golden scoring opportunity. Jardel, in for the injured Ezequiel Garay, completely lost Juan Mata and let him get into a one-on-one with Artur. Mata was pushed wide and couldn't finish from a narrow angle, hitting the post in the 61st minute.

Chelsea would eventually finish a chance, scoring the game's only goal in the 75th minute. Fernando Torres had a bad miss in the first half, but his touch and off-the-ball movement was fantastic all game. His efforts paid off eventually, with Salomon Kalou finishing off one of his crosses at the end of a fantastic team move for Chelsea.

Benfica brought in attacking winger Nolito for defensive midfielder Javi García in the 81st minute in an attempt to push for an equalizer, but they were unable to find a goal. They will now be significant underdogs in the second leg at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea appear to be all but through to the semifinals of Champions League.

For more on the Blues, head over to Chelsea blog We Ain't Got No History.

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