Chelsea are short favourites to reach the Champions League semi-finals after earning a hard-fought 1-0 first leg win over Benfica at the Estadio da Luz last night.
The Blues certainly look to have an easier task at Stamford Bridge than they did in the last round, when they had to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit against Napoli.
This time, Roberto di Matteo’s men will have a lead to defend and, with their 4-1 extra time success against the Azzurri having breathed new life into their season, they will be confident of reaching a sixth Champions League semi-final of the Roman Abramovich era.
Chelsea are priced at 2/25 to reach the next round, leaving Benfica as 23/4 outsiders.
Meanwhile, the Blues are odds-on at 3/4 to win the second leg in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with the draw at 14/5 and a Benfica success on the night at 16/5.
With the back five looking more solid, Torres working tirelessly up front and the midfield willing to break forward to support the Spaniard, Chelsea were able to keep a clean sheet and score a crucial away goal through Kalou.
The Blues’ victory in Lisbon certainly inspired confidence in their chances in the competition.
It was a far more coherent display away from home than managed during the brief reign of Andre Villas-Boas, with Di Matteo opting for a more measured approach than his predecessor.
With the back five looking more solid, Fernando Torres working tirelessly up front and the midfield willing to break forward to support the Spaniard, who was operating as a lone striker, Chelsea were able to keep a clean sheet and score a crucial away goal through Salomon Kalou.
This goal puts them in the driving seat ahead of the second leg, although with the prospect of a semi-final against Barcelona on the horizon, it would perhaps be best not to look too far into the future.
Nevertheless, Chelsea are priced at 9/1 to win the competition, making a £25 free bet on an improved Blues side worth £250 if it proves successful.
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