Salomon Kalou scored a late winner as Chelsea put one foot in the Champions League semi-finals after a first-leg quarter-final victory in Lisbon.

Forward Kalou had earlier wasted a fine chance, but made no mistake to side-foot home a cross from the impressive Fernando Torres.

Chelsea were full value for the victory, with Juan Mata denied by a post when the game was goalless.

David Luiz made a goal-line clearance to deny Benfica's Oscar Cardozo.

Chelsea caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo will know the job is only half done and will not be looking beyond the second leg at Stamford Bridge on 4 April.

Match analysis

"When Luiz gets it right, he really does have the raw material to be one of the best around. I've stuck by Torres all the way through. I still think he is a fantastic player. The fact that others cannot see the positions he runs into, that has been the problem."

But the Londoners will only have themselves to blame if they do not reach the semi-finals after a performance full of spirit, guts and determination in Portugal.

Di Matteo produced a major surprise before the game by naming Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard - who both started and scored in the impressive 4-1 win over Napoli two weeks ago - on the substitutes' bench.

Michael Essien was also on the bench as Di Matteo opted for a heavy reliance on players with Portuguese experience.

Paulo Ferreira filled the problem position of right-back - his first start of 2012 - while Raul Meireles was also recalled. In addition, former Benfica players David Luiz and Ramires both started against their old club.

Yet ex-Porto player Meireles, booed throughout by the home fans, found himself booked inside the opening 20 minutes for a cynical foul on Nicolas Gaitan, before Chelsea had a narrow escape after their defence was sliced open far too easily.

Benfica's side was influenced by a strong South American presence, and Paraguay international Oscar Cardozo's first-time shot - after chesting down Bruno Cesar's lofted pass - flew narrowly wide of Petr Cech's net.

The hosts, currently third in their domestic league, carved out some decent openings but failed to hurt a Chelsea side that finished the first half strongly.

After Torres had engineered an opening when twisting and turning on the edge of the Benfica area, Meireles forced home keeper Artur into his first serious save with a powerful low effort just before the interval.

DID YOU KNOW?

Chelsea had won only once away from home in Europe since October 2010 prior to this game - and that was at FC Copenhagen, who were in the midst of their winter break

Di Matteo's bold selection plans were paying off.

While Cech had to be alert to keep out Cesar's long-range attempt, Chelsea's back four of Ferreira, Luiz, John Terry and Ashley Cole endured a comfortable first half compared to the opening 45 minutes in Italy against Napoli last month .

It was the calm before the storm.

The second-half was only a couple of minutes old when Cardozo dispatched a fierce volley towards the Chelsea net but, with Cech beaten, Luiz was in the right place to make a crucial clearance off the line and frustrate his former club.

Then Cech was forced to save smartly from Cesar before Chelsea spurned a glorious chance to score a priceless away goal.

With 53 minutes on the clock, the impressive Torres produced an inch-perfect cross for Kalou, who headed wastefully over in front of a gaping Benfica net.

Chelsea were clearly looking to establish a lead to take back to London.

Mata was denied by the woodwork after skipping round the keeper following a mistake by Jardel, who was then frustrated by an outstanding Cech save two minutes later in a free-flowing second half.

But with just 15 minutes left, Kalou struck from close range after connecting with a clever cross by Torres to earn his side a victory their hard work deserved.

There was a scare at the death when Ashley Cole almost scored an own goal, but Chelsea survived to ensure their season remains very much alive.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

Benfica

  • 01 Artur
  • 03 Emerson
  • 04 Luisao Booked
  • 14 Pereira
  • 33 Jardel
  • 06 Javi Garcia Booked (Nolito - 81' )
  • 08 Bruno Cesar Booked (Machado - 69' )
  • 10 Aimar (Matic - 69' )
  • 20 Gaitan
  • 28 Witsel
  • 07 Cardozo

Substitutes

  • 47 Eduardo
  • 27 Miguel Vitor
  • 16 Oliveira
  • 21 Matic
  • 09 Nolito
  • 19 Machado
  • 30 Saviola

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 03 Cole
  • 04 Luiz
  • 19 Ferreira (Bosingwa - 80' )
  • 26 Terry
  • 07 Ramires
  • 12 Mikel
  • 16 Meireles Booked (Lampard - 68' )
  • 09 Torres
  • 10 Mata
  • 21 Kalou (Sturridge - 82' )

Substitutes

  • 22 Turnbull
  • 17 Bosingwa
  • 24 Cahill
  • 05 Essien
  • 08 Lampard
  • 11 Drogba
  • 23 Sturridge
Ref: Tagliavento
Att: 65,000

Match Stats

Shots

22 11

On target

12 4

Corners

8 4

Fouls

9 16

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:10 Full time

Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.

90:00 +4:57

Oscar Cardozo takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.

90:00 +3:58

Centre by Conceicao Emerson, Unfair challenge on Frank Lampard by Nemanja Matic results in a free kick. Petr Cech takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +3:28

Unfair challenge on Anderson Luisao by Juan Mata results in a free kick. Guilherme Artur Moraes takes the free kick.

90:00 +3:08

Corner from left by-line taken by Nicolas Gaitan.

90:00 +2:57

The ball is sent over by Nicolas Gaitan, Ashley Cole manages to make a clearance.

90:00 +0:47

Nicolas Gaitan produces a cross, Machado Rodrigo Moreno takes a shot. Blocked by John Terry. Corner taken right-footed by Manuel Agudo Nolito from the left by-line, Victorio Maxi Pereira takes a shot. John Terry gets a block in.

90:00 +0:04

Oscar Cardozo takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.

89:34

Jose Bosingwa gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Conceicao Emerson. Free kick taken by Vieira Jardel.

88:49

Victorio Maxi Pereira crosses the ball, clearance by John Terry.

88:37

Conceicao Emerson delivers the ball, David Luiz gets a block in.

88:25

Machado Rodrigo Moreno delivers the ball, blocked by Mikel.

87:48

David Luiz crosses the ball, Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save made by Guilherme Artur Moraes.

86:16

The ball is crossed by Jose Bosingwa.

85:21

David Luiz challenges Machado Rodrigo Moreno unfairly and gives away a free kick. Axel Witsel takes the direct free kick.

85:05

Effort on goal by Juan Mata from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.

84:16

Jose Bosingwa gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Manuel Agudo Nolito. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Manuel Agudo Nolito, John Terry makes a clearance.

82:11

Effort on goal by Manuel Agudo Nolito from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

81:42 Substitution

Substitution Daniel Sturridge joins the action as a substitute, replacing Salomon Kalou.

80:48 Substitution

Substitution Manuel Agudo Nolito on for Francisco Javi Garcia.

79:32

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Nicolas Gaitan, clearance by Mikel.

79:32 Substitution

Substitution Paulo Ferreira leaves the field to be replaced by Jose Bosingwa.

77:38

Unfair challenge on Nicolas Gaitan by Paulo Ferreira results in a free kick. Conceicao Emerson takes the free kick.

76:32

Ramires fouled by Conceicao Emerson, the ref awards a free kick. Mikel takes the free kick.

75:58

Shot from just outside the box by Nemanja Matic misses to the left of the target.

75:53

The ball is crossed by Nicolas Gaitan, clearance by John Terry.

74:45 Booking

Booking Francisco Javi Garcia is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

74:15

The assist for the goal came from Fernando Torres.

74:15 Goal scored

Goal! - Salomon Kalou - Benfica 0 - 1 Chelsea Salomon Kalou grabs a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. Benfica 0-1 Chelsea.

74:13

A cross is delivered by Fernando Torres,

73:25

The referee blows for offside. Anderson Luisao restarts play with the free kick.

71:45

Ramires delivers the ball.

70:37

Juan Mata sends in a cross.

67:59

Direct free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.

67:59 Substitution

Substitution Machado Rodrigo Moreno replaces Zanaki Bruno Cesar.

67:59 Substitution

Substitution Nemanja Matic comes on in place of Pablo Aimar.

67:59

Fernando Torres challenges Vieira Jardel unfairly and gives away a free kick.

66:41

Mikel takes the free kick.

66:41 Substitution

Substitution Frank Lampard replaces Raul Meireles.

66:41 Booking

Booking Anderson Luisao receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

66:15

Vieira Jardel takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech. Ramires fouled by Anderson Luisao, the ref awards a free kick.

65:39

The ball is sent over by Pablo Aimar, Ashley Cole makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken by Zanaki Bruno Cesar from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Salomon Kalou.

64:25

Effort on goal by Axel Witsel from a long way out goes over the bar. Pablo Aimar takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Ramires.

63:41

Paulo Ferreira concedes a free kick for a foul on Nicolas Gaitan. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Pablo Aimar from left channel, clearance by David Luiz.

61:00

The ball is delivered by Juan Mata.

59:57

Juan Mata has an effort at goal from inside the penalty area that bounces off the post.

59:16

Effort on goal by Zanaki Bruno Cesar from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

58:59

Axel Witsel crosses the ball, Victorio Maxi Pereira takes a shot. Blocked by Ashley Cole. The ball is sent over by Victorio Maxi Pereira, John Terry gets a block in.

58:31

Juan Mata sends in a cross, save made by Guilherme Artur Moraes.

56:19

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nicolas Gaitan by Fernando Torres. Direct free kick taken by Conceicao Emerson.

55:43

Oscar Cardozo takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.

54:50

The ball is delivered by Nicolas Gaitan, Close range header by Francisco Javi Garcia misses to the right of the target.

54:46

The ball is crossed by Nicolas Gaitan, clearance by Raul Meireles.

54:41

Victorio Maxi Pereira sends in a cross.

53:06

The assistant referee signals for offside against Ramires. Guilherme Artur Moraes restarts play with the free kick.

52:06

Fernando Torres delivers the ball, Salomon Kalou has a headed effort from close in and clears the bar.

51:01

Free kick awarded for a foul by Anderson Luisao on Salomon Kalou. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from David Luiz.

50:48

Francisco Javi Garcia takes a shot. Blocked by Mikel.

50:41

The ball is delivered by Victorio Maxi Pereira, clearance by David Luiz.

50:07

Zanaki Bruno Cesar takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.

49:11

A cross is delivered by Zanaki Bruno Cesar.

47:58

The ball is sent over by Nicolas Gaitan, Francisco Javi Garcia takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.

47:32

Nicolas Gaitan crosses the ball, blocked by Salomon Kalou. Corner taken left-footed by Nicolas Gaitan from the left by-line to the near post, Ramires manages to make a clearance.

46:47

Shot by Oscar Cardozo. David Luiz gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Pablo Aimar from the left by-line, save made by Petr Cech.

45:44

David Luiz concedes a free kick for a foul on Pablo Aimar. Pablo Aimar crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, John Terry manages to make a clearance.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:00 +0:34 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

44:49

Unfair challenge on Zanaki Bruno Cesar by Salomon Kalou results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Zanaki Bruno Cesar from right by-line, Raul Meireles makes a clearance.

44:05

A cross is delivered by Victorio Maxi Pereira, Ashley Cole gets a block in.

42:45

Free kick awarded for a foul by Ramires on Nicolas Gaitan. Direct free kick taken by Pablo Aimar.

42:15

John Terry concedes a free kick for a foul on Axel Witsel. Direct free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.

42:07

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata, Pablo Aimar manages to make a clearance.

40:02

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata from the right by-line.

39:46

Raul Meireles takes a shot. Save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.

38:03

Shot on goal by Fernando Torres from just inside the area goes over the target.

35:59

Pablo Aimar delivers the ball, Zanaki Bruno Cesar has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

34:51

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mikel by Nicolas Gaitan. David Luiz takes the free kick.

32:55

Effort by Raul Meireles from a long way out goes over the target.

32:27

Anderson Luisao challenges Fernando Torres unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mikel.

32:07

Zanaki Bruno Cesar takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a comfortable save.

31:07

Nicolas Gaitan takes a shot. Blocked by David Luiz.

30:19

Short corner taken by Zanaki Bruno Cesar. Zanaki Bruno Cesar produces a cross, Ashley Cole gets a block in.

30:12

The ball is crossed by Victorio Maxi Pereira, clearance made by David Luiz.

27:48

Pablo Aimar sends in a cross, Oscar Cardozo has a header from close in and clears the crossbar.

26:41

Salomon Kalou gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nicolas Gaitan. Guilherme Artur Moraes restarts play with the free kick.

25:06

The free kick is delivered left-footed by Juan Mata from right wing, Anderson Luisao manages to make a clearance. Raul Meireles takes a corner.

25:06 Booking

Booking Zanaki Bruno Cesar is cautioned by the ref for dissent.

24:52

Zanaki Bruno Cesar challenges Paulo Ferreira unfairly and gives away a free kick.

23:03

The assistant referee signals for offside against Fernando Torres. Anderson Luisao takes the indirect free kick.

22:48

Foul by Oscar Cardozo on Raul Meireles, free kick awarded. David Luiz restarts play with the free kick.

21:37

Shot from just outside the box by Fernando Torres goes over the bar.

21:22

Foul by Nicolas Gaitan on Raul Meireles, free kick awarded. Juan Mata takes the free kick.

19:17

The ball is delivered by Nicolas Gaitan.

18:57

The ball is swung over by Axel Witsel, clearance made by David Luiz.

18:05

Oscar Cardozo has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the goal.

17:29

Nicolas Gaitan takes the free kick.

17:29 Booking

Booking Raul Meireles receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

17:26

Raul Meireles challenges Nicolas Gaitan unfairly and gives away a free kick.

14:36

Fernando Torres crosses the ball, blocked by Anderson Luisao. Juan Mata takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Guilherme Artur Moraes makes a save.

13:54

The ball is delivered by Nicolas Gaitan.

12:04

John Terry challenges Oscar Cardozo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Pablo Aimar takes the free kick.

11:39

The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.

10:40

David Luiz has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses left.

8:12

Pablo Aimar fouled by Raul Meireles, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Pablo Aimar.

6:17

Juan Mata crosses the ball, save made by Guilherme Artur Moraes.

6:05

Fernando Torres delivers the ball, Vieira Jardel makes a clearance.

5:20

The ball is crossed by Fernando Torres.

3:06

Handball decision goes against Salomon Kalou. Pablo Aimar crosses the ball, Zanaki Bruno Cesar produces a mishit right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

1:55

Centre by Zanaki Bruno Cesar.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to start the match.

Live data and text provided by our data suppliers