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Stakes high for Chelsea against Benfica in Europe

LONDON — Chelsea defends a narrow first-leg lead over Benfica in the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday knowing that winning the title for the first time may be its only chance of securing a place in next year's competition.

The Blues are five points behind a qualifying spot with only seven games left in England's Premier League, so players are well aware of the importance of not letting slip a 1-0 lead over the Portuguese side.

Midfielder Frank Lampard says chasing Champions League qualification this way "is a risky card, albeit one well within our means."

Chelsea or Benfica will face defending champion Barcelona or seven-time champion AC Milan in the semifinals.