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Chelsea FC's supporters sang "we are the champions, champions of Europe" throughout their 2-1 win at FC Basel 1893, and it was that regular exposure to the top table of UEFA club competition that gave their players a sense of a job well done in their UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg in Switzerland.
Petr Čech said his side's last-four know-how was the key to a victory sealed in added time thanks to a free-kick from David Luiz soon after Fabian Schär's 87th-minute penalty had cancelled out Victor Moses's first-half header. Čech's opposite number Yann Sommer was left to curse a miscalculation of angles for the winning goal but Philipp Degen was adamant that "nothing is decided yet" ahead of the return leg in London.
Petr Čech, Chelsea goalkeeper
We're really pleased. We could have scored more goals but I think that having won 2-1 away is a good start. They equalised but there was still time so I hoped and I believed we would have another chance because we had enough chances from the counterattack – and in the last second we managed to score, which was the goal we deserved.
I think [Basel] did really well but 2-1 is a fair result. I think that a bit of experience [made the difference] – it's always important. We have played in many European semi-finals and, in the end, the defence paid off and we managed to score the second goal. It will be a difficult game again [in the return leg] but we play at home and hope to take advantage of that.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea forward
Yes, it is a big chance [to reach the final] but it is not finished – there is a match left. Two-one is a good result of course and it speaks positively for us. We made few mistakes in the match and it is important for the end of the season to keep the chance to win a trophy. We played well during the first half and we did a good job of avoiding danger until the penalty – we lost some control which allowed Basel to equalise. [Luiz's winner] was a very good reaction [to the Basel equaliser] and it was a matter of quality.
Yann Sommer, Basel goalkeeper
In the end, we can take many positive things from the game despite the 1-2 scoreline. I think we were the better team but we made too many unforced, individual errors. We could have scored more goals than we managed and the second Chelsea goal was unlucky for us.
The problem was not the shot, which is the sad thing about the goal. I had told Fabian Schär to come back to the goal line but then he ran diagonally in front of my eye-line and I was unsighted for a slight second. I should have told him to run directly to the goal line and not diagonally, so this is my fault.
This goal is a slap in the face for us because we did a lot, we ran a lot, we tried a lot and then we give away a goal like that in the last minute. I don't think they were the better team but they won and this is the only thing that counts.
Philipp Degen, Basel defender
We wanted to score the second goal and everybody in the stadium saw that. We did everything to get to 1-1 and then after scoring the goal, we gave away such a soft goal but nothing is decided yet. We will have our chances in London – we have nothing to lose there. We have to attack as we usually attack but we could and should have achieved a better result here tonight.
The main thing that we have to improve in London is that if we have a big chance, we have to score. But I am not afraid of it because everyone has seen on many occasions – for example, against Tottenham – what we can do.
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