UEFA Europa League 2013: Predicting the Results of Semifinal Clashes

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UEFA Europa League 2013: Predicting the Results of Semifinal Clashes
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The UEFA Europa League competition continues with the semifinal round as the remaining four clubs eye their spot in the final match. 

As the season winds down, these clubs will be looking to bring up the European Trophy and end their year with a success. While Basel, Fenerbahce and Benfica will be thrilled to win this competition, Chelsea's victory would be bittersweet following their major success last season and their disappointing this year. 

Here is a look at how the semifinals will play out. 

 

Chelsea vs. FC Basel 1983

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Basel enter this matchup after knocking out Tottenham in a hotly contested quarterfinal battle. Both legs finished up with 2-2 scores, but Basel advanced on penalties as Tottenham fell apart. Chelsea took a 3-1 lead into the second leg against Rubin Kazan and improved their advantage to 5-2 before a final barrage brought the score to 5-4. 

In the first leg, Chelsea travel to Switzerland to take on Basel. The defending Swiss champions haven't lost since November and haven't lost at all at home during the Europa competition. Chelsea has been up and done in the competition, falling behind to Steaua Bucuresti in the Round of 16 and losing the second leg to Rubin Kazan. 

This game really comes down to which Chelsea teams shows up. They are the better side in this matchup and most likely the best team remaining in the competition. If they put their energy into these two matchups, they should be able to escape and get into the final. 

Basel will be inspired as they look to advance to their first final of a European competition. Their fans will be hungry and it will make for quite the environment in their home game. If they are going to knock out Chelsea, Basel will need to have a very strong showing in the first game. 

Chelsea have their attention set on finishing in the top four of the Premier League, but salvaging a trophy from this season also seems important to the Blues. They have the quality to win the tournament, but need to maintain focus in order to do so. They get to the final with two strong showings against an out-matched Basel squad. 

 

Prediction 

First Leg: Basel 1-2 Chelsea

Second Leg: Chelsea 3-0 Basel

Aggregate: Chelsea 5-1

 

Fenerbahce vs. Benfica

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Benfica enters this matchup having knocked off Newcastle United in the quarterfinals, while Fenerbahce defeated Lazio. Benfica jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first leg at home and then secured their place in the semis with a 1-1 draw in the second leg. Fenerbahce took a 2-0 advantage into the second leg in Italy and went up 3-0 before a Lazio goal made the scoreline more respectable at 3-1. 

The first leg of this matchup is in Istanbul which gives Fenerbahce the chance to take an early lead and put pressure on Benfica heading back to Portugal. That said, Benfica is a tough out as they haven't lost a game during the Europa competition. 

These are fairly evenly matched teams both capable of beating the other and heading into the final. Dirk Kuyt is a player to watch for Fenerbahce, while Oscar Cardozo's Europa goals for Benfica are good for sixth in the competition. 

This matchup could really come down to which team is able to steal an away goal. Both teams are have the potential to do so. Benfica has been the more stable team throughout the competition, remaining strong in each performance. 

Both teams have a shot here and should expect to win at home. Benfica is just the more battle-tested and consistently tough team. They advance with a strong performance at home.

 

Prediction 

First Leg: Fenerbahce 1-1 Benfica

Second Leg: Benfica 2-0 Fenerbahce

Aggregate: Benfica 3-1 Fenerbahce

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