A controversial late penalty from Fabian Schar almost gave Basel a draw, but David Luiz's stoppage-time free-kick put Chelsea in control after Victor Moses had opened the scoring in the first half. In the other semi, Fenerbahce could have won by a larger margin but struck the woodwork thrice and missed a penalty to scrape through for a 1-0 win. (All AFP and AP photos)
Fenerbahce, seen celebrating their goal here, hold the slightest of edges going into the second leg. They will probably rue the 'missed' chances if Benfica play well at home.
Egemen Korkmaz, the goal-scorer for Fenerbahce, celebrates after getting his reward with 18 minutes to go in the game.
In the other semi, Chelsea took the lead after 12 minutes following a fine move when Cesar Azpilicueta's cross was diverted goalwards by Frank Lampard and pushed behind by Yann Sommer.
In the resulting corner, Branislav Ivanovic missed Lampard's spot-kick, but ball struck the head of Victor Moses (celebrating in image) and bounced inside the far post. It was a lucky break but goal nonetheless.
Fernando Torres, who has been in fine form at the Europa League, continued with his exploits, albeit going goalless. He could have scored once had a left-footer not cracked upright. Another fine move by Torres and Moses went a begging as Eden Hazard could not send the ball towards goal-mouth.
Basel then pressurised Chelsea inside the final 10 minutes and were rewarded, may be controversially, with three to go when Fabian Schar converted from the penalty spot after Azpilicueta was harshly adjudged to have fouled Stocker.
It was the last kick of the game though that sealed it for Chelsea as David Luiz, getting better and better with his free-kicks, hit a low one past Basel's wall and it deflected off the possibly blinded keeper into the goal. The Blues exulted.