David Luiz’s last-gasp free-kick winner was enough to give Chelsea a slender first-leg advantage as the visitors were undone by a dubious penalty shout.
Victor Moses set the Blues on their way but an 87th minute penalty awarded by the Czech Republican referee to Basel was taken with open arms by Schar. It looked like Chelsea had to settle with just the one away goal, but the win was also in the bag thanks to the last kick of the match.
Ashley Cole was warmly welcomed back for his first match in 24 days, whilst John Terry was afforded a starting line-up, with Lampard completing the England trio. Hazard was the Number 10 — Mata rested — whilst Luiz and Lampard were tasked at the base of midfield.
The joy for Basel, who were playing in their first European semi-final, was evident from the off. Cheered on by Roger Federer in the stands, early pressure thankfully only landed on the roof of Cech’s net.
Lampard’s wait for the record appears ever more elusive, but he could have done better from Azpilicueta’s cross. It did not matter for Chelsea moments later, as the veteran midfielder’s cross floated towards Ivanovic, but Moses managed to get the vital touch right behind the big Serbian.
Basel looked to come back in the game and attacks were met with John Terry clearances or, as a last resort, the woodwork was struck.
Ramires could have made it two had Moses’ pass been better, and Torres had an overhead kick horribly miscued. It was all Chelsea but without the killer goal.
Would it prove costly in the second half? Nearly. Two minutes in and the woodwork was struck again as Basel rallied with the home backing.
It was an end-to-end match and it was Torres’ turn to his the post after a fantastic Hazard run. Nine yards out, the Spaniard ought to have done better when faced with a good opportunity.
Dragovic and Frei had Cech worried, but it looked like Chelsea were weathering the storm well as time elapsed.
Until the 86th minute when Kralovec awarded a penalty to the hosts. It was in fact great defending by Azpilicueta and none of the Basel team appealed, but somehow a penalty was awarded with minimal contact. Schar sent Cech the wrong way.
But Luiz had the last laugh. His Brazilian team-mate Ramires was felled just outside of the box and presented Luiz with a decent opportunity. Not sensing enough room to get his shot over the wall and back down, the former Benfica man side-footed through a gap in the wall and Sommer could not react in time. This, for all the Suarez controversy on Sunday, was indeed a legitimate goal.