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Apr 26, 2013

Luiz sets sights on Europa final

Chelsea's David Luiz admits his side have one foot in the Europa League final after a 2-1 win over Basel in the first leg of their semi-final tie, but has urged his team-mates to take no chances in the return fixture.

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Luiz's stoppage time winner put Chelsea in a commanding position heading into the second leg at Stamford Bridge, despite the Blues making a strong claim that Basel should not have been awarded the penalty which gave them a lifeline.

Chelsea have never lost a European semi-final at the Bridge, although Luiz insists Rafa Benitez's side will be pushing to seal the tie convincingly.

"It's important that we can score two goals here because they are a very good team," Luiz told ITV1. "The philosophy to play here is amazing so it is difficult to win here.

"So in the last kick, to score the second goal was amazing for us. But we have the second leg, you need to keep the mind strong because there is one more difficult game for us. A draw 1-1 is a good result but 2-1 is better and me and the team are so happy with this.

"I want to go to the final so we need to win the second leg or draw. It is not finished, we need to play the second leg. It is so important for us to win one more title for my career and for Chelsea as well, so I just want to win this competition. But we need to win two more games."

Fabian Schar's equaliser for Basel came in contentious fashion as Cesar Azpilicueta looked to be harshly adjudged to have fouled Valentin Stocker.

There appeared to be minimal contact and Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez believes the decision halted the Blues' momentum.

"When you play a good team you see the intensity, the pace of the game, the tempo, the chances to score another goal and this penalty that was a surprise for everyone," he said.

"We were really surprised. I've been talking to the players and everybody around and nobody could see that was a penalty because the ball was in the air. It was a very strange decision."

On Luiz's late strike, Benitez added: "Always it is important to win. To score an away goal is really important but to score two and win is even better.

"David Luiz was playing as a midfielder. He did a great job so I am really pleased with the team in general because all of them were working very hard."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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