By MATT LAWTON
Perhaps Frank Lampard should reassess the qualities of this Chelsea side. They might well lack the consistency that enabled them to win three English titles but they remain a team capable of rising to the occasion on the continent.
This was some victory here in the Estadio da Luz, the product not only of a brilliantly executed 75th-minute goal from Salomon Kalou but also some serious graft typified by the irrepressible Ramires and the tenacious Fernando Torres.
It was no accident that they both played their part in securing the advantage Chelsea now take to Stamford Bridge next week for the second leg of this Champions League quarter-final.
We've got a Kalou: The shock inclusion of Salomon Kalou was vindicated when he scored the winner
It was Ramires, a constant threat down the right flank with his relentless running, who made the initial ground, and Torres who timed his ball into Kalou to perfection with the kind of skill and composure on which he built a reputation.
Roberto Di Matteo’s reputation has certainly been enhanced, the decision to omit certain senior players paying off when much the same approach had proved so costly for Andre Villas-Boas in Naples in the previous round.
What happened against Napoli actually made the team selection of the interim manager all the more courageous.
Torres ahead of Didier Drogba, Raul Meireles ahead of Lampard, David Luiz ahead of Gary Cahill; even John Mikel Obi ahead of Essien. All big calls, all of which enabled Chelsea to record their first away win in Europe in 13 months.
Like Ramires, Luiz was outstanding against his former club. He was in the right place at the right time to deny Oscar Cardozo in the 47th minute with a terrific goal-line clearance, coolly using his chest to avert the danger.
But he was also superb in a formidable partnership with John Terry. With their defensive colleagues, they left Benfica hugely frustrated, with Paulo Ferreira also deserving praise for his display at right back given that this was his first appearance in 2012.