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Chelsea-Basel Headlines Europa Semifinals

  • Reuters, Friday, April 12, 2013 1:44 PM

Reigning European champion Chelsea was paired with Swiss champion FC Basel in the UEFA Europa League semifinal draw on Friday. The other semifinal features Turkish side Fenerbahce and Portuguese Liga leader Benfica. Basel and Fenerbahce, which have both reached their first European semifinal, will host the first-legs on April 25th, with the return games in London and Lisbon on May 2nd.

All four teams began the season in the UEFA Champions League, but dropped into the Europa League after finishing third in their respective groups. None has ever won either the Europa League or the UEFA Cup, its predecessor.

Chelsea lost 3-2 away to Rubin Kazan on Thursday but advanced to the semifinal thanks to its 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge, which gave it a 5-4 series win. FC Basel qualified in far more dramatic fashion; after drawing both games of its quarterfinal series with Tottenham, 2-2, the Swiss champion eventually went through on penalties. Fenerbahce won its series against Italian giant Lazio, 3-1, while Benfica defeated Newcastle United, 4-2 over two legs.

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